2008 shows an obvious toughening up of the Ladytron sound. The beats pound menacingly around a sub-electro bassline, and prepare the listener for the phenomenal “Ghosts”. The track sonically growls at you for what seems like an eternity, before going headlong into an old-school glam rock riff that sounds caught somewhere between T-Rex and earlier Goldfrapp, but pumped through a heavy metal soundsystem – gave me the same kind of rush as the moment you start the descent on a rollercoaster, shockingly good!
There is plenty of power to be found through the tracks – the singing at times becoming lost in cacophonies of textured sound. As previously mentioned in Release, this album was meant to hail an all round harder Ladytron sound, with more emphasis on rockin' guitars (thanks in part I guess to Alessandro Cortini of Nine Inch Nails fame) – well that part I can say has been successfully filled, for the six-stringed electricity-powered beast has left its mark all over this set. Before devoted fans of the group start to worry though, the familiar elements are still there in abundance: the singing is still crisp, if a little cold and detached in places, the drums and pads are still gloriously synthetic, and the rhythms a hybrid of glam and electropop. There are some great tracks like the pounding drum beat and whistling sets of the dark electro track “Predict the Day” – it is slightly unnerving in way that may prevent you from putting this on during a dinner party, or other some such soiree – no bad thing in my book!
Criticisms? Well... there are a few. First of all, the tracks do sound a little similar to each other, especially as you get further into the album, and the songs themselves can be a little monotonous once they have settled into their groove. “Season of Illusions” is one such track, which hardly seems to change once it's up and running. “They Gave You a Heart, They Gave You a Name” is another that does enough to grab you, but then essentially locks you in stasis until the track is over.
To conclude – harder, faster – definitely. Yet slightly samey in places, and quite similarly dark in texture. There are great effects and little sonic snippets to keep the attention – just a little more variety would be have been nice (and not just through singing in a different language!). Great in places, OK in others, still "Velocifero" is bound to keep almost everyone happy.