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Witching Hour

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 17 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner
  • ASIN: B000AY9ON0
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #95,341 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. High Rise
2. Destroy Everything You Touch
3. International Dateline
4. Soft Power
6. amTV
7. Sugar
8. Fighting In Built Up Areas
9. The Last One Standing
10. Weekend
11. Beauty*2
12. White Light Generator
13. All The Way

Product Description

Liverpool-based Ladytron have reached a mythical milestone with Witching Hour, their best album yet. Their critically lauded debut 604 spawned a glut of imitators obsessing over vintage synths and asymmetric haircuts. Their darker late 2002 release Light & Magic was toured extensively selling out concerts worldwide. Witching Hour is warm, dense and ambitious. Ryko. 2005.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Leroux on Oct. 6 2005
Format: Audio CD
I'm a big fan of Ladytron, and have been for a while, and this record is such a wonderful surprise. Witching not only captures and builds upon many of the traits that I love about Ladytron's sound (whispy, ethereal, and haunting melodies and vocals pumped through wonderfully poppy and dancy synth sensibilities) and expands upon them beautifully. This record is so much richer and more thoughtful it seems then the previous 604 and Light and Magic (and I still adore those records), but still retains that breazy but moving sound that won me over to Ladytron years ago, so as you can imagine, Witching Hour has made me a happy boy.
This record is also more dark and moody in tone than their previous work. 'Destroy Everything you Touch' and and 'International Dateline' are particularly amazing tracks, and really reflect their evolution in this direction. Imagine the the tone of previous tracks like 'Skool's Out...' from 604 or 'The Reason Why' or 'Evil' from Light and Magic, but done more consistently over a whole record, and with a more orgnanic and less mechanical sounding approach, and you might get an idea of Witching Hour's overall tone.
Another great surprise is that Helen Marnie's voice is brought much more to the surface in Witching Hour, no longer buried under as much synthy haze as before, and she sounds more full, more immediate, and yet, more ghostly than ever. Just beautiful.
For everyone else, now's as good a time as ever to finally check Ladytron out with Witching Hour!
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Format: LP Record Verified Purchase
The original pressing of Witching Hour was the first lp I bought that was labeled as 180 gram vinyl. It is also the worst sounding record I own; the surface noise is really unbearable. It irks me that a record company would spend more on heavier vinyl at the expense of quality control, but for them I suppose it's primarily a marketing gimmick. I am very happy now, seven years later, that this amazing album has been reissued on vinyl. It does not weigh 180 grams, but it sounds excellent. Thank you Nettwerk!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 55 reviews
36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Where's Mira? Oct. 5 2005
By Jessica Winney - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This album is in some ways a step up for Ladytron and in some ways a step down, depending upon how one chooses to look at it. On the positive side, "Witching Hour" is warmer and more mysterious than anything they have previously done. The soundscapes are incredibly lush and sweeping while also dense and fuzzy. This makes for a very interesting listening experience and Helen Marnie's vocals are better than ever. She sounds almost surreal, particularly on "International Dateline" and "Beauty*2". In a word, WOW. On the negative side, Mira Aroyo is featured on only two tracks and her presence is not nearly as prominent on this album as it was on previous albums. I have always thought that the interplay between her thick, Bulgarian vocals and Marnie's sweeter, more melodic vocals really gave Ladytron an edge. While Marnie has the voice to carry the album herself, she sounds better when complemented by Aroyo and similarly, Aroyo sounds better when backed by Marnie. Aroyo has always been less vocally prominent than Marnie and on this album she is almost non-existent. One fears that she will disappear into the background as Marnie takes over as the frontwoman of the band. My only other complaint is that I can't quite figure out the hidden track. This album contains a "hidden" 14th track, yet it is nothing but nine minutes of silence. Perhaps this is supposed to be symbolic? Who knows? "Witching Hour" is otherwise a very strong effort and an album that rewards repeated listening. It is definitely on my top ten list of albums released in 2005.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Icy cool, 21st century pop Dec 6 2005
By cagey - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This is my first purchase of a Ladytron album, actually my first purchase of anything of theirs, since I've only been a very casual fan since their beginning. I've really only heard their singles "He Took Her To The Movies" and "Seventeen". There is much more material on "Witching Hour" that grabs you at first listen, though. The songs may have more melody, for the most part. So it's not surprising that fans of their earlier work may feel jilted by their new pop accessibility (although I felt the early singles were accessible as well) or the disappearance of any existing eccentricities.

The single "Destroy Everything You Touch" has a driving dance beat reminiscent of the 80's hits of Depeche Mode or New Order. I couldn't stop playing this after I downloaded it from iTunes. Then you notice the other songs and practically everything has something to offer. There are no tracks that I skip (not counting the final silent track). Songs like "Sugar" and "Weekend" are the kind I love playing LOUD speeding down a dark highway. "Beauty*2" has a fragile, haunting quality to it and I wish it didn't end so soon. "International Dateline" is another that stays in my head days after I hear it. The whole album is well produced and SOUNDS great.

I would place this as probably my favorite album of 2005 after Thievery Corporation's "The Cosmic Game". I have no reason not check out Ladytron's earlier releases after hearing this stunning album. **** 1/2 stars.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Just Right... Warm, Dense & Electric... Jan. 16 2006
By Rafael Cova - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The atmosphere of this record is electric and dark at the same time, beautiful at times and noisy and disturbing at others, like all the best records should be. "Witching Hour" is an album that reaches further than its predecessors: warm and dense, there is a feeling of susceptible magic wrapped within all tracks.

Witching Hour achieves a certain timelessness. Sure, these songs betray the inspiration of three decades of electronic pop, but none of them touch long enough to leave a fingerprint. Instead, Ladytron's warm songs sound new, retro and familiar without ever letting on that they've ever listened to synth-pop before.

The artful blend of darkness and warmth ultimately proves to be the record's best asset; it's a delicate balance, but Ladytron gets it just right.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
WITCHING HOUR is LADYTRON's finest to date Oct. 10 2005
By Demetri A. Moshoyannis - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I've been following LADYTRON since I saw the video for "Playgirl" in early 2001. Upon buying 604, I knew that the band was destined for big things with the synth-based '80s sounds that at once mimicked and simultaneously outshined anything ever done by the likes of Depeche Mode, the Human League or Visage. As a collection of early tracks, 604 sparked a musical movement of '80s-inspired electro-rock that we are still experiencing a la The Killers, Interpol, The Bravery and others. By Fall 2002, we were treated to Light & Magic, a more polished collection of LADYTRON songs that not only avoided the 'sophomore slump' but managed to impress critics worldwide, ending up on Rolling Stone's Top 50 albums of the year. And, honestly, who could resist the cross-over synthetic appeal of tracks like club hit "Seventeen," the '60s pop inspired "Blue Jeans," electro-dance favorite "Evil," and the lush title track?

Fast forward to Witching Hour (2005). After switching labels in 2004, the band set out to make a record that incorporated a broader range of influences. If the first two records took cues from Kraftwerk, then Witching Hour takes its leads from the likes of The Kinks and My Bloody Valentine ("Sugar"), New Order ("Destroy Everything You Touch"), Lush ("WhiteLightGenerator"), and the Cocteau Twins ("All The Way"). Don't get me wrong: This album is NOT about LADYTRON trying to do its best to rip off anyone else. They take these influences and make them distinctly their own; each track is quintessential LADYTRON. It's a well produced concept album that takes you on a dark journey from start to finish. Witching Hour is successful in that it displays the breadth of the band's talents, now incorporating guitars and a rougher, edgier sound (think feedback and fuzzy electronic overlays). At times, the band can even be political ("Soft Power") without hitting you over the head and can craft the most ominous of dance tracks ("Fighting In Built Up Areas"), sure to be a goth favorite.

What works most about the album is that it appears that LADYTRON have finally produced a record that speaks to a wide range of the band members' personal musical influences. Produced by Jim Abbiss (Kasabian, Placebo), Witching Hour will appeal to a broader audience than just the electroclash set. Granted, there are tracks that are planted firmly in that camp ("Weekend") but other songs stretch the band to its creative limits, offering us a chance to hear what a proper LADYTRON ballad sounds like ("Beauty*2"). What's refreshing is that all of these seemingly different tracks sound great from start to finish - mostly due to the strong vocals offered by Helen Marnie. She is at her most mature and confident on Witching Hour. And while Mira Aroyo only takes the lead on a couple of tracks ("AMTV" and "Fighting In Built Up Areas"), her performance is solid as well. By the way, Mira also offers up the lead vocals on one of the best LADYTRON Bsides to date, the flipside of "Destroy Everything You Touch" called "Nothing To Hide." Check it out.

And, for those people who've been asking about why Track 14 is nothing but dead airtime, well just look at the running time of the album, 60:02. That's almost exactly one hour - a witching hour, if you will. While you make think that's silly or misleading, it's the kind of attention to detail that makes Witching Hour one of the strongest indie-electro-rock records of the decade. Everyone should own this album, in my opinion. And, so far, everyone that I've suggested it to has loved it immensely. Perhaps you will too. LADYTRON at their best!!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Popmatters Review by Adrien Begrand Oct. 5 2005
By N. Smock - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This review sums up, nice and objectively, how I feel about Ladytron's excellent new third album.

"Ladytron have always excelled at juxtaposing contrasting styles in both their music and their image, be it synthetic versus organic, or warm versus frigid. They have stylish haircuts, but dress in rather utilitarian-looking clothes onstage. Their recorded music is heavily dominated by synthesizers, but their live show has included real drums and guitar. Helen Marnie sings in a disarmingly soft voice, while Mira Aroyo spits her vocals in a cold, Eastern European monotone. Audiences don't know whether to dance or stand looking like bored indie rock fans; even the band's song "Playgirl" asks, "Why are you dancing when you could be alone?"

After the charming mishmash of electro, post punk, and pop rock on their lauded 2000 debut 604, Ladytron, fronted by the vocal yin-yang of Marnie and Aroyo, with Daniel Hunt and Reuben Wu quietly doing their thing in the background, decided to add considerable polish to their sound on 2002's uber-hip Light and Magic. Buoyed by the single "Seventeen", the album helped bring the electroclash craze above ground, alongside the likes of Adult. and Fischerspooner, but to their credit, Ladytron refused to allow themselves to be lumped in with the rest of the synth pop fad, and over the past three years, they've continued to evolve musically. With the addition of a full band behind the synth quartet, their live sound began taking on more of a krautrock style, as rigid Kraftwerk elements meshed with a more progressive, Can-style element. The 2003 mix CD Softcore Jukebox offered hints of Ladytron's continued growth, from the cover photo of Marnie and Aroyo, an homage to Roxy Music (whose song is the band's namesake), to the reworked version of "Blue Jeans", to the raucous, punk-fueled cover of Tweet's "Oops, Oh My". Listening to the eclectic tracks on Softcore Jukebox, from My Bloody Valentine, to The Fall, to Cristina, to Lee Hazlewood, the prospect of what Ladytron's third full-length would sound like was encouraging, and after the long wait, their much-anticipated follow-up delivers on the promise.

While both 604 and Light and Magic toyed with the idea of pop music, tentatively dipping into catchy melodies and arrangements, the hip posturing making the music sound more chilly than engaging, Witching Hour, on the other hand, is surprisngly accessible. Any thought of Ladytron being nothing more than poster children for a musical trend that has since faded away has been tossed out the window. Produced by Jim Abbiss, who has worked with Placebo and Kasabian in the past, the sound is much more dense than the stripped-down Light and Magic, and although the new songs combine dark themes with the band's familiar glacial feel, you begin to sense a heart beating underneath all the layers of ice.

The key track on the album is its first single, "Sugar". Fans are already familiar with the song, as it was featured prominently on the excellent, sadly overlooked soundtrack to the documentary film Thinking XXX from a year ago, and it's presented in cleaner, beefed-up form on Witching Hour. The most outwardly rock-oriented song the band has ever done, "Sugar" mines both '60s garage rock and early '90s shoegazer, the insistent drums and tambourine beat underscored by waves of feedback and drones, as Marnie's teasing, layered lead vocals draw strongly from the great 90s dreampoppers Lush. Coy, menacing, and carnal at the same time, it oozes personality, a huge departure from the band's previous, rather staid singles.

Much of the credit of the album's success goes to Marnie, who puts in a very strong lead vocal performance on ten of the 13 tracks, sounding more confident and emotional than ever before. The upcoming second single, "Destroy Everything You Touch", is just as notable a departure as "Sugar", but it heads in a different direction, driven by strong, house-style beats and accented by grandiose, cascading synths, Marnie cooing lyrics that sound as much a political commentary as a song about a jilted lover. Marnie's sweet vocal melodies on "International Dateline" mask feelings of impending doom ("Woke up in the evening/ To the sound of the screaming/ Through the walls that were bleeding/ All over me"), while the dreamy "All the Way" closes the album on a lovely, plaintive note. The tender "Beauty #2" smacks of Depeche Mode, it's sparse arrangement adding weight to Marnie's emotional vocal delivery, before shifting into a gorgeous, dance-fueled breakdown midway through.

While Witching Hour has the band sounding more adventurous, there's a consistency to the tracks that holds it all together. "High Rise" is an even more direct nod to My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus and Mary Chain than "Sugar", "White Light Generator" is simple, lush (by name and by nature) dreampop, and "Weekend" boasts a terrific, motorik style rhythm, another example of the band's Krautrock fascination. Aroyo does sing on two songs, her usually harsh voice toned down a touch on "amTV" (arguably the album's weakest track) and on the disc's harshest track, "Fighting in Built Up Areas", but in all honesty, it's Marnie's album, and her much more engaging vocal style is what makes this a potentially mainstream-friendly piece of work. The artful blend of darkness and warmth ultimately proves to be the record's best asset; it's a delicate balance, but Ladytron gets it just right.""