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Pip Brown a.k.a. Ladyhawke has been on my radar for the better part of a year. At first, the New Zealander struck me as just another 80's throwback artist cashing in on the gullible skinny girls and boys currently cluttering high streets. "Dusk Til Dawn" (and its accompanying video) seemed to evidence this. While fine, the song never seemed destined to make a lasting impact on me or truly register.
Until recently, that opinion remained unchanged. Then, weeks of hearing "Dusk..." and "Paris is Burning" convinced me my verdict was premature. The self-titled album rocketed to the top of my shopping list. I got it yesterday and I'm already convinced; in fact, I was before the first repeat play. Brown's a talent. Her songwriting is accessible, but not overly familiar, simple yet not rudimentary, and endearingly confident throughout. "My Delirium" and "Morning Dreams" are delicious pop, the latter thanks to a healthy dash of Secret Machines-like guitar work. "Back of the Van", meanwhile, comes on like Van Halen's spunky kid sister, before plunging into what I believe they call a "floor-filler." Not since Metric's Emily Haines has a female voice so demanded my attention. On her official site, Brown says:
"As primarily, above all else, a songwriter, I only ever wanted to create something that evoked feelings. I hope that Ladyhawke does. We were all once teenagers, listening to music at full volume, jumping on the bed with the door shut."
Mission - accomplished. Opportunities to transport back to that time, that feeling, are too precious to ignore. Don't.
Don't listen: if a captivating Kiwi dance songsmith is your "fingernails down a blackboard."
Ranking: 8 (Captain.)
Ian Pratt wishes he'd made more of an effort to learn to play his keyboard.