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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

A night with Ladytron's The Witching Hour

By Matt Won

It’s another Friday evening of dashed hormonal hopes, missed chances, and hot girls who listen to enough Maroon 5 for me to be able to sour grapes their sweet promise. Alas, no real love, or even that wonderful delusional physical/real love, awaiting me in my lofted bed. But all’s almost well in the world: I’m a hipster and The Witching Hour, Ladytron’s third LP, beckons.

“When they come out to find you / And they cannot describe you / Someone somewhere has to buy you / Out of your weekend,” Helenie Marny alluringly chides me on “Weekend.” She could be talking about herself, but I embrace the dynamic. “That’s fine with me, baby, just remember I’m cash only, no Visa.”

“Friday is the teacher / And Monday the tormentor,” she continues. She knows her teasing will drive me mad, but I ignore her soothsaying and fall into the gorgeous hypnotic trance she weaves.

The apocalyptic siren call of “High Rise” has me leaping onto the rocks with nigh Cruise-esque abandon. My roommate awakes confused: I tell him some shit about me just having realized I’m never going to make love to Audrey Hepburn, or something like that. I slip in and out of sleep, but not because the album’s more-driven sound is putting me to sleep-it’s the 200 mg of caffeine leaving me like the morning after that’s got me drifting in and out, but it’s better that way, kind of like a Sigur Ros concert.

The demon that enters my room shortly thereafter admonishes me to stop this whole filesharing thing and pay attention to “that faggot-ass Ben Franklin.” For sure, the RIAA is on some next-level shit; they’ve stepped their game up so much that I both don’t realize that this is a dream and I forget that I actually legally emusic’d the new Ladytron.

Accordingly, my retort to the demon is less than coherent, something like “get the hell out of my room.” My roommate evidently mutters something equally incoherent but this entire episode ends up a wonderful transition as I awake to the soaring synths of “White Light Generator,” lifting me to a euphoric high at which my heightened senses can sort out the fact that the likelihood that the RIAA collaborated with a homophobic demon to get me to stop filesharing was probably low, as in, like, me replacing Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday low.

I step out into the fluorescent surrealism of the Turck 3 hallway. It’s 3:00 a.m. and I am hard up for some Eurotrash babes. just won’t do, not tonight it won’t. New Ladytron is progressive as hell, but sometimes you just can’t ignore the more instinctual appeal of the band’s modern art.

It’s a little while before I realize that the other hot one, the Bulgarian one that usually has the short hair, is on this album about as much as Malice on the first Clipse mixtape, which is to say not much. They use her for when they’re really trying to Eurotrash it up, and she does her irresistible thing on “Fighting in Built-Up Areas.”

But I realize that all this electronica robot fetish stuff, along with the brilliant production, delicious synths, and calculated distance in the vocals mixing, is a lot of smoke and mirrors artfully embedding the fact that this album is impregnated with a heart, a bigger and more beautiful one than what most electronic stuff will ever be motivated by, and damn is that sexy.

There’s some real melancholy here, some real bloody-cast heartbreak, and when transmuted through Ladytron’s particular idiom of Helenie’s icy veiled need echoing over lush melodies and sophisticated arrangements, a surprisingly stark, yet wondrously warm beauty emerges. Like hearing your beloved’s voice carried on a wind wrapping you in a chilled embrace.

As I step out from the fishbowl into the stinging rain the stunning break of “Beauty #2” hits me like the air I gasp in with Audrey as we jump to the storm-braced rocks below. “Hey can I go with you / My beauty #2,” Helenie asks. The double-edged come-hither bites like God’s tears stinging my face, but I’m swept up in the moment.

“Sure Helenie,” I reply. I get mine as well: Helenie’s also just my #2: she’ll never match you, Audrey.

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    Claire HarrisSep 8, 2019 at 1:14 am

    Thanks a lot for sharing this with all of us you really know what you’re talking about! Bookmarked. Kindly also visit my web site =). We could have a link exchange agreement between us!