Ladyhawke’s been quiet for a few years. Wild Things marks her first release in four years, and even then, I don’t remember hearing much from Anxiety, her sophomore album. After wining an ARIA and several New Zealand Music Awards for her self-titled release back in 2009, she seemed to duck out of the commercial limelight. It was during the time that you couldn’t leave the house without accidentally stepping on a female indie-pop singer, and I’d just assumed that Ladyhawke (real name Pip Brown) had faded away like Little Boots, Bat For Lashes, and Goldfrapp. But just like the time I predicted that Hozier would be a one-hit-wonder, I turned out to be wrong.
The early June release was perfect timing. The synths and guitars are big, the indie drums are thumping, and the songs blend together like an ice cube melting in a Wetherspoon’s Pimms at lunch time. That being said, however, it doesn’t really mark a significant change in Ladyhawke’s musical style. Some of the less memorable tracks on the album could have been offcuts from either of her two previous LPs, and at its worst moments the album can be accused of being repetitive. I don’t mean to launch that as scathing criticism though. Brown knows what works and she’s sticking to it. This album is certainly bigger than Anxiety and her self titled debut. It’s got the confidence and self-assurance that eight years of personal and musical growth gives. There’s a formula to her sepia washed brand of indie pop but it works because it’s not contrived. Lyrically, there are character stories and romantic nods, and Brown’s unfazed steady vocals are nonchalant enough to sound cool, but not breathless enough to be annoying.
Wild Things joins the ever increasing list of 2016 album releases that demand to be listened to in their entirety. Much like Anti, Lemonade, and most recently Views, Wild Things isn’t full of stand alone tracks but creates a very vivid mood when listened to whole. Unlike the other albums listed (I’m looking at you Drake) this is a shorter listen. At eleven tracks it tucks in at under forty minutes, much easier to commit to. It’s worth a listen, and immediately after it finished I had to grub about under my bed to find the copy of her first album that I own in CD form.
Even if you don’t listen to the album you’ll probably be hearing at least one of the tracks on the Costa playlist within the next six months.