Whilst Anxiety was a tense, nervy record about uncertainty and anxiety (obviously), Ladyhawke’s Wild Things is a joyous celebration of love. She (Pip Brown) has mostly shed the “indie” part of her indie-pop stylings from Anxiety and Ladyhawke, and crafted an album that wouldn’t sound out of place on mainstream radio, whilst retaining the emotional realism that makes her such a unique artist.
Ladyhawke was married last year, and with song titles like Golden Girl and A Love Song it’s not hard to imagine these tracks are written for her wife. The latter in particular, is excellent. The track was released as the album’s lead single, and it’s easy to see why. It is a rush of pulsating synths and thudding drums, and the ecstatic chorus wouldn’t sound out of place next to Carly Rae Jepson’s Run Away With Me. The lyrics, whilst romantic, are also honest. In the second verse, Brown’s partner comforts her after she drinks too much – “I’m falling down, too much to drink again / you pull me up and tell me how it could end”. It’s the little details like this that make Brown such a skilled songwriter, as she always insists on finding something emotionally complex in every song.
The title track explores finding new love after heartbreak, and solidarity amongst friends, by setting the emotion against a “heartland” backdrop – “there’s a fire in the heartland / we dance it around it like the wild things in the night”. The synth arpeggios and swooping vocal samples lend the song a cinematic feeling, and the melody in the chorus is instantly memorable. Hillside Avenue conjures up the spectre of CHVRCHES, telling a youthful tale of trying to stay awake on a night out. It lacks the outsized drama of the title track, but has a sweet nostalgia in its place, and is well placed before the older, more jaded Money To Burn. Brown sings about someone trying to buy her affection, and using this person for her own gain. It shows more of an edge to Brown than the love songs on the rest of the album suggest, and the “but she is after me” refrain is enjoyably smug.
Wild Things is an excellent step into upbeat, positive songwriting for Brown. Some tracks are less distinctive than others (Chills and Wonderland both feel a tad superfluous), but overall the album holds together very well, exuding optimism and warmth. Between the catchy hooks, throbbing synths, and very real emotions, Wild Things is Brown’s best album yet.