Ladytron Meets Chvrches
Ladytron’s lead singer Helen Marnie recently branched out on her own and has now released her second solo album, Strange Words and Weird Wars, via Disco Piñata. Upon moving back to Glasgow in 2012 after living in London for several years, she began recording her solo music and released the successful Crystal World in 2013.
Marnie’s sound is ever-changing throughout Strange Words and Weird Wars, as she takes influence from her favorite ’80s artists and contemporary pop music. Songs like the opener, “Alphabet Block,” and “Bloom” are strictly electro-pop, while stronger tracks like “Lost Maps” are darker, with deep synth in electro dreampop fashion. In fact, the less straightforward and hook-laden the tracks are, the more successful they appear to be.
“G.I.R.L.S” is a femme-pop anthem to goddesses on fire everywhere. It starts sounding right off of Ladytron’s latest album, but the chorus has a little too much pop appeal and loses the listener. “Electric Youth” brings in an ’80s vibe with Lauren Mayberry-inspired vocals. “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” is slow and spacious. Marnie sings, “She doesn’t think of you tonight / like it’s the last day of her life,” sharing no doubt what it’s like to be walking alone at dark, passing by strangers (or perhaps vampires). “Summer Boys” takes a page out of M83’s sound, featuring an ’80s beat and echoing minor synths, as Marnie sings of summer flings and waterfalls. “Little Knives” screeches and repeats with reverberating vocals. Closing track, “Heartbreak Kid,” is a jumping electro track with a dreamy chorus.
While Marnie touches on relatable topics of love, loss and politics, as a self-proclaimed Ladytron fan, one can agree that there seems to be something lacking in Marnie’s solo sound. There’s a thinness in the overall quality that lacks the edginess Ladytron acheived. While the majority of Strange Words and Weird Wars is very similar to Ladytron, it’s stripped of most of its darkness and depth, opting to remain in the shallow end of a deep pool — there’s a possibility to go even deeper, but does she have the courage to go there?