Gig review: Ladytron


WITH a Best Of album out, after more than a decade performing, and a new record released in the autumn, now seems as good a time as any to assess Ladytron's breakthrough potential.

The post-industrial murk of The Arches suited their cool, clinical electronica. But the austere, emotional detachment that defines the Liverpool outfit's shoegazing tendencies and variable sound quality ensured their performance here was flat and disengaging for the most part, even with strikingly severe front duo Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo trading vocals.

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The repetitive, motorik beats of opener Runaway established a template that the enigmatic Ghosts, with Marnie pitching the shuffling hook somewhere between mockery and regret, capably built on. Still, the raw, punkish immediacy of International Dateline soon dissipated into throbbing tedium. And the hauteur of the Glaswegian and Bulgarian singers did nothing to lift the leaden metronomic ponderousness of Soft Power, the group's ploddingly uniform synths coalescing into bland sonic wallpaper mid-set.

Only with the poppier, melodic entanglements of new track Ace of Hz and the delicious cynicism of Seventeen, or indeed when Aroyo chanted in her native tongue, did the inert quartet start to loosen up and truly engage the crowd. The haunting harmonies of new single, White Elephant, and the ongoing diffusion of their music across film and computer game soundtracks suggests they might yet lodge in the mainstream consciousness.