Ladytron's breakthrough third album Witching Hour represents an artistic quantum leap, establishing the Liverpool-based boy/girl neo-synth-pop foursome as one of contemporary music's most exciting and inventive forces.Since Witching Hour's US & UK release, Ladytron has achieved an impressive series of career milestones. While the album has achieved substantial sales success and across-the-board critical acclaim, the band had emerged as an immensely popular live act. Meanwhile, the album's first two singles, "Destroy Everything You Touch" and "Sugar," have achieved widespread airplay on commercial alternative stations across the US. "Destroy Everything You Touch" can also be heard in the new EA Sports game Need For Speed, while the Jagz Kooner mix of "Sugar" is featured on the new Ultra Electro remix collection.
In April 2006, Ladytron released Extended Play, a two-disc package that combines a CD of remixes and rare b-sides with a DVD containing videos for "Destroy Everything You Touch" and "Sugar" and Once Upon a Time in the East, a documentary offering a behind-the-scenes look at the band's historic three-week tour of China. (just as a US/UK Release)
While Ladytron--Mira Aroyo, Daniel Hunt, Helena Marnie and Reuben Wu--has become an increasingly popular live attraction in the U.S., the U.K. and Europe, the quartet has also recently expanded its touring base to include performances in China, Argentina, Brazil, Russia, Poland, Serbia and Iceland. The band has also carved out a busy sideline doing remixes for other artists, including Blondie, Portishead, She Wants Revenge, the Cities, Bloc Party, Gang of Four and Ursula 1000.
In addition to showcasing Ladytron's trademark mix of layered synth textures, infectious pop hooks and plaintive female vocals, Witching Hour finds the band achieving new levels of sonic imagination and songwriting sophistication. The 13-track album fizzes and sparks with the band's established charms, while stretching further and reaching deeper than its much-loved predecessors, 604 and Light & Magic.
"Witching Hour is definitely the album on which we've realized our sound," Aroyo states. "Through playing live and touring extensively, we've really become a band, as opposed to a group of people who record together. We've developed our palette of sounds, and we've learned more about what dynamics work best within a song. We've also learned more about production, so we were more aware of what sounds and shades we wanted in the songs, and were more careful fine-tuning them.
" Witching Hour embodies the stylish soundscapes and stylish songcraft that made Ladytron's prior work so appealing, while introducing a darkly dreamy vibe and an unpredictable energy that's reflected on such diverse tracks as the trippy, guitar-buzzed "Sugar," the haunting, goth-y "Destroy Everything You Touch," the bleakly beautiful "High Rise," the soulfully bittersweet "International Dateline," the killer ballad "Beauty Two" and the Euro-industrial "Fighting In Built Up Areas.
"With Witching Hour, we wanted to make a record that would be fun to play live and a record that would better reflect our live dynamic," says Aroyo. "It was the most fun we've ever had making an album, as we had more chance to play around and experiment with sounds and ideas in the studio.
" Ladytron's musical innovations and aesthetic sensibility have spawned a multitude of imitators. But the band, which borrows its name from a song from Roxy Music's 1972 debut album, has always stood apart. The group first came together in mid-1998, when Daniel Hunt and Reuben Wu settled in Liverpool after various adventures DJ-ing in Japan and traveling the world. During a train trip in Bulgaria, they met vocalist Mira Aroyo. With vocalist/keyboardist Helena Marnie completing the quartet, Ladytron toured throughout the European continent before recording their debut EP, Commodore Rock, released in 2000.
The band's 2001 debut album 604 offered a dynamic assortment of vintage synth textures, accessible song structures and a scintillating mix of musical, cultural and political references. The album was embraced by fans around the world, as was its 2002 followup Light & Magic, which featured the international cult hit "Seventeen" and the inventive 2003 mix album Softcore Jukebox. Meanwhile, the band toured successfully around the globe, evolving and developing its compelling live performances with the addition of live guitar, bass and drums to the band members' electronic keyboards.
"We never wanted to seem like a cold, austere band; we're not like that as people," says Aroyo. "We're definitely into writing hooks and melodies and songs, and we've always felt that we were writing emotional pop songs. But I think people hear that more now because of the production of Witching Hour. Light & Magic was more minimal and stark, but Witching Hour is more textured and the sounds are more overdriven, and I think people interpret that as warmer.
"We're always looking to move forward, rather than just rip off what we have done before," Aroyo concludes. "We still love finding interesting new sounds and messing with them in the studio, so there's always a lot of trial and error and happy accidents. We have a fear of repeating ourselves, and of doing the obvious."