LIGHT & MAGIC
Ladytron are two lads and two lasses from across the Beatles' ocean, looking to invade car commercials everywhere with their deliciously synthesized grooves. Their just-out Light & Magic is a clever, sophisticated follow-up to 2001's analog-driven smash 604. It's all there, kids: the lush and heavenly vocals and the trance-like robo beats—now with more plug-and-play keyboard wizardry than Kraftwerk! Less cynical than Miss Kittin and more fun than Adult, Ladytron have what the others don't: a penchant for pop. I swear, "Blue Jeans" screams Abba with synths! But that's not to say they don't know a thing or two about blips, bleeps and funky beats. With its industrial hum and delicate hooks, the opening track, "True Mathematics," will transport you into a technotronic computer world filled with Casios, smoke machines and strobe lights. And next is "Seventeen," a sassy and monotonous groove over an endless whisper ("They only want you when you're 17/When you're 21, you're no fun."). So simple it's brilliant! And sure, there are obvious nods to the past—check out the Pac-Man invasion in "Startup Chime" and the familiar vocal warblings of Herbie Hancock's "Rockit" in "Turn It On"—but Ladytron are creating a new sound for the now to embrace and for the future to admire. And hey, if you're one of those I-like-my-music-to-look-as-good-as-it-sounds kind of people, Ladytron definitely know how to rock the matching black turtlenecks.