Ladytron – Miss Black and Her Friends EP

Miss Black and Her Friends EP

If you read my review of Girlfrendo a while back, you would know that I don’t normally dig foreign, keyboard-oriented pop bands but do make an exception. Girlfrendo was such an exception. Labelmates Ladytron are, to some extent, as well. The British-based Ladytron is completely milking the keyboard resurgence, although it probably never left pop music. With some synthesized backbeats and some disco grooves, Ladytron heaps the keyboards and sound effects over some odd, heavily-accented female vocals to make for some cute and catchy songs that remind me of what Pizzicato 5 would sound like if they sang completely in English. You could relate the noises they mix in to Stereolab, I would say. Sometimes, it really works. Sometimes, it seems like a quick throw-off.
“Miss Black” starts things off with some haunting, almost horror movie, keyboard noises behind a backbeat, all fuzzed out just enough and looped in with some not-quite-evil laughing. It’s a neat intro, I have to admit. “Paco” has plenty of keyboards and a catchy beat – at times with bongos – and some sly-sounding accented vocals, but it’s too repetitive and flat. “Playgirl” is where this band shines, with the more poppy vocals and a layering of soft keyboard noise giving this song some real depth, and the drum beats are perfect here. “CSK Sofia” is repetitive filler, but “Another Breakfast With You” is near perfect, with some bass-heavy keyboard, random noises, and some sly, loungy vocals that have hints of St. Etienne and New Order. “He Took Her to a Movie” is too repetitive, although it is catchy. “Commodore Rock” is a very European electro-pop song, sung in another language and mixing way too many different components. And “Schools Out” is almost completely bare bones, centered around slight beats and some layered keyboard noises.
Ladytron is just the kind of thing that would be playing at dance clubs overseas, I imagine. There’s plenty of grooves to this electro-pop band, and the lyrics are used just right. Unfortunately, it leans too heavily on the elctro side and not enough on the pop side to keep me enthralled. Some songs are potential pop gems, while others seem to be electronic experimenting too much for my taste.