It would be fairly safe to say that Ladyhawke is New Zealand’s most successful and also it’s finest musical export to have been unleashed on the international masses in some time. Though New Zealand is a bustling talent-fest and has spawned a few top bands with the likes of Crowded House, Stellar, Bic Runga and The Feelers all finding success offshore, very rarely does a kiwi band infiltrate the international market to a memorable degree but you can be assured that when they do, they will make a lasting impression.
Anxiety is Ladyhawke’s second studio release following the singer-songwriters 2008 self titled debut that produced the acclaimed singles, Paris is Burning and My Delirium. That debut was hailed by critics and the followers flocked to the musicians heavily 80’s influenced, pop pennings.
It’s been four years since that debut and that in itself can see fans move on and place their attention to the latest acts on the circuit. We here at Renowned For Sound hope that Ladyhawke’s fans have chosen to stick it out because Anxiety is quite a release.
Bringing it right from the get-go, the musician unleashes a fantastic introduction to Anxiety that both meets and propels expectations from the first note as we are offered a brassy and synth filled welcome back for Ladyhawke. Girl Like Me is a spectacular introduction to the long awaited follow up as her echoed vocals sit confidently on the opening number and display a multi-instrumentalist in her prime. Though her signature retro sound is still there we are able to hear the change in direction, particularly within the first half of the record.
Sunday Drive follows a similar pace with a more raw, breathy vocal texture as the singer bounces through a memorable chorus, some spacey effects and a fantastic guitar solo filling.
Black, White and Blue begins with the crackling of an old record player before some intense power chords take the wheel and drive us through one of the records prominent inclusions. Chosen as the new albums lead single, Black, White and Blue is an effective and energetic thumper with an anthemic chorus that will play over and over in your head long after you have finished the record, begging you to go back to the track for another listen.
A quick drum beat rolls out Blue Eyes and the track, with its carefree “nah-nah-nah” chorus’, provides a fun, sing-a-long centre point to Anxiety. The number is a credible addition to the record that drips with a bubblegum pop quality and a rich, brimming instrumental filling.
Taking on a number that I’m sure The Ting Tings wish they had written, the records title track promises an electrifying journey through Ladyhawke’s electronic influences. Her vocals ring out effortlessly among a backdrop of electro-bliss while the closing Gone, Gone, Gone ends the record on a rocky peak, tackling a grunge layered outro providing the record with a beautiful onslaught of drums and snarling guitars.
The new album is focused predominantly on guitar rock-outs rather than the 80’s coatings that the singers debut was drawn from and the change in musical direction is an ideal fit for Ladyhawke.
It’s been one hell of a delay in getting the second album from the kiwi starlet but with the wait now over, she doesn’t disappoint. Anxiety presents itself to be a fine sophomore effort for Ladyhawke. From the very first clang of guitar, right through to the glossy finishing point, Anxiety is a fantastic return from New Zealand’s leading lady of pop.
::: RenownedForSound.com’s Editor and Founder –
Interviewing and reviewing the best in new music and globally recognized artists is his passion.
Over the years he has been lucky enough to review thousands of music releases and concerts and interview artists ranging from top selling superstars like 27-time Grammy Award winner Alison Krauss, Boyz II Men, Roxette, Cyndi Lauper, Lisa Loeb and iconic Eagles front man/songwriter, Glenn Frey through to more recent successes including Newton Faulkner, Janelle Monae and Caro Emerald.
Brendon manages and coordinates the amazing team of writers on RenownedForSound.com who are based in the UK, the U.S and Australia.