As we fly festively through the Christmas period, we are surrounded by a warming excitement that is fuelled by the family, food, and fun all around us. There are, however, some more stressful tasks that the festive season brings. One such task is that of having to wrap presents, a job that is even more difficult if, like me, you are abysmal at it. Thankfully though, music saved the day, as it so often does in the life of a music lover. Whilst I struggled my way through the dreaded task at hand, Ladyhawke’s collection of feel-good pop anthems kept me bobbing my head and had me in a great mood despite the wrapping paper ripping apart in all the wrong places.
Yes, the alter-ego of well-seasoned pop-rock guitarist Pip Brown is back at it again with her fourth studio album Time Flies. Having not been familiar with the New-Zealander until being given the opportunity to write about this album, I was pleasantly surprised by the vibrant assortment of beautiful songs throughout the record. Things are kicked off with My Love, a track that perfectly captures Ladyhawke’s style and who she is as an artist, as it is easy to dance to and catchy, just how a great pop song should be, whilst also having a certain maturity to it, something which separates it, and Ladyhawke overall, from the wider pop music scene. This upbeat pop sound continues into Think About You as Ladyhawke continues to merge two unique styles into one in a magnificent way, with some very infectious guitar licks combining perfectly with the more electronic elements on display. This fusion of guitar and electronic music is so very classy and forms a splendidly unique sound that is synonymous with Ladyhawke, even dating back to her early work with songs like My Delirium.
The previously mentioned maturity of the music on this album doesn’t just make it stand out from the wider pop music environment, but also from Brown’s earlier work, with songs such as title track Time Flies, and Take it Easy Mama both being a lot more under control and laid back in style compared to music released by Brown in the past. The growth shown by Brown in this album can be attributed to experiences she has gone through in her personal life, with her becoming a mother in 2017. Brown has stated that following pregnancy related illnesses she is ‘lucky to still be alive and making music’. This is more than enough explanation for the wisdom that is on display throughout this record.
Whilst the easy-listening pop influence is ever-present on Time Flies, Brown’s other musical influences shine through at different points on the album. The best example of this is on Guilty Love. Here Brown delves into her punk-rock origins that date back to her time as lead-guitarist of punk band Two Lane Blacktop in 2003. The track has a darker tone to it than is commonplace on the rest of the record, with it easy to interpret some more sinister themes from the lyrics within it. It also features some grungy sounding guitar riffs that are heavily reminiscent of bands such as The Black Keys and set it apart from the other songs on the album. This deviation from the high-spirited feeling of the rest of the record could be a by-product of Broods vocalist Georgia Nott featuring on the track.
The album comes to an end in a pleasantly well thought out way, with the last three songs Reactor, Walk Awayand Love is Blind being progressively slower paced and mellower than the last, meaning that by the end of Love is Blind the album feels like it has naturally wound down to a satisfying end.
Time Flies has opened my eyes to a side of pop music that I had little knowledge of previously. Ladyhawke’s wisdom and maturity throughout the record is a breath of fresh air from the sex and fame obsessed themes of a lot of today’s pop music. Listening to the album I kept thinking one thing. If it were a more mature, older aged audience that were boosting music up the charts via social media and other media sources, surely Ladyhawke would be a much more prominent figure in today’s music. I may never get a response to this thought, but it is nonetheless something that I will continue to ponder over after listening to this stunning ensemble of tunes that should be checked out by anybody in need of an injection of feel-good vibes.