She is the musical embodiment of Ally Sheedy's character in the Breakfast Club
Elvissia Williams 2008
Amidst the increasingly yawnsome frenzy for 80s sonic references amongst new bands, Ladyhawke has quietly produced the Breakfast Club of her generation. Just like the John Hughes movie classic, her debut album blends love, anxiety and youthful bashfulness. Any scenester with a Casiotone can Xerox the 'sound' of the 80s; Ladyhawke's genius lays in her ability to distill the *spirit* of Brat Pack-era America - its innocence, its wide-eyed euphoria, its unshakeable faith in happy endings.
Ladyhawke - a.k.a Pip Brown - is an enthralling pop star. Peering through a shamble of blonde hair she is a Kiwi Stevie Nicks, channeling both that singer's enigmatic allure and mesmerising, fragile vocal. Underwriting such promise is Brown's studied reverence for musicianship, fed by endless nights prowling Fleetwood Mac web forums to discuss guitar riffs. Within this auspicious tangle of synths and intrigue, a charmingly naive, slightly awkward persona shines through. Like a coming-of-age movie, her musings despair at the psychological warfare that one must endure in pursuit of love. Tracks like Manipulating Woman confront the pain of being hooked on a duplicitous game-player, while the utterly uplifting Back Of The Van is a tribute to just saying how you feel. As Ladyhawke reaches nervously for her new lover's hand it's impossible not to join in her sweet, unvarnished declaration, ''You set me on fire''.
Such lyrical lack of guile is matched by an endearingly untutored choice of influences. Professional Suicide channels both the screwy synth pop of Gary Numan and early Depeche Mode, while Another Runaway is the most heart-swelling FM pop anthem Belinda Carlisle never wrote. This is to say nothing of Crazy World, which conjures a bittersweet closing-credits soundtrack, where our unlikely heroes ride off into a new dawn having learnt that nothing ever turns out how it seems.
Such unwitting independence from pretension and abundant
self-consciousness is Ladyhawke's star quality, and should rightfully make her the next great indie hit. Indeed, she is the musical embodiment of Ally Sheedy's character in the Breakfast Club - a shy outsider and creative misfit who reveals quirks that enthrall the mainstream.