Following in the footsteps of fellow European beat-geniuses Daft Punk, British artists Ladytron have spent the past ten years pumping electronic synth-pop on their heavily-evolved discography, from 2001’s Chemical Brothers-esque electro-rockin’ 604 to the more pop-oriented Light & Magic a year later, to 2005’s and 2008’s dark and more bass-driven Witching Hour and Velocifero. And now three years later, the beat quartet are back with another record coated in the electronic plaster on which they’ve made their name, but this time something’s a bit different. This time, Ladytron are happy.
When Gravity the Seducer opens, chimes instantly serenade us into a state of ethereal bliss as a dreamy haze entrances. Feeling akin to the Dude’s knockout dream state while soaring over Los Angeles in the Big Lebowski, it seems all too perfect when vocalist Helen Marnie bellows, “We’re walking in our sleep.” For all four minutes and sixteen seconds, Ladytron pull us into a world they’ve never explored before, a world full of bright wonder and enchantment. It’s the kind of feeling you get when listening to the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows,” for when it’s over, you don’t cry at its finality. You smile for having witnessed it.
Once that wears off, Ladytron gradually revert back to the dark realm they’ve called home for almost seven years now, but this time it’s not twisted like 2005’s “Destroy Everything You Touch” or 2008’s “Ghosts.” There’s a rainbow that forms out of the gloomier tracks, like the promising reminder of love on “Ambulances,” or the gravity-defying “Altitude Blues” that sends us soaring into the clouds. And it’s the closing track, “Aces High,” that puts the finishing, peaceful touch on what could be confused as a bleak collection of Ladytron’s continual affair with dark matter. Following the giant, 2001: A Space Odyssey-sized crescendo of “90 Degrees,” (from which the album’s title derives), “Aces High” continues cramming jet fuel into listeners’ jet packs, and as the record comes to a close, Ladytron leave our feet off the ground.
Like “Ghost” claimed in 2008, there’s still a spirit in them, only this time there’s no need for anyone to apologize. With Gravity the Seducer, these four Brits just gave the electronic world a gift wrapped in gold.