After 20 years of exploring the boundaries of electronic pop, Ladytron has defined a sound that is wholly their own with their 2019 self-titled album. In choosing an eponymous title for their sixth studio release, the group exudes a confidence in their craft that comes with being older, wiser and bolder – unconcerned with fitting into a perfect genre package – all of which was clear during their Dec. 11 stop at Metro in Chicago.
Throughout the night, fans followed Ladytron – comprised of Helen Marnie, Mira Aroyo, Daniel Hunt and Reuben Wu along with touring drummer, Billy Brown – through the wonder of a disorienting dream world fabricated by ethereal vocals, industrial beats and effortless cool drifting from the stage in rising tides. The setlist spanned the group’s entire discography though songs from the latest release best exemplified the quartet’s range.
The apocalypse never sounded prettier than when it was foreshadowed in Marnie’s airy vocals on “The Island” while Aroyo conjured the essence of eighties new wave with the contrasting – heavy then buoyant – verse chorus verse of “Paper Highways.”
“Has anyone bought our new album,” asked Marnie as cheers arose from the crowd. “This next one is called ‘Deadzone.’”
The pulsing backbone of the aforementioned tune was even more haunting in the live setting as the repetitious closing lyrics unfolded with each line mirrored upon itself as Marnie sang, “Don’t come knocking with your night moves / My resistance is your weakness,” again and again. The unsettling analog sounds created by Aroyo and her Korg swirled into the ether, creating an unexpected sonic aura to compliment the evocative vocal story.
Later Aroyo came to life, bouncing across the stage while still epitomizing class and confidence on Witching Hour‘s “Fighting in Built Up Areas” while, in the background, Marnie’s angelic howls carefully molded each melodic phrase. The dance party ramped up near the end of the set as “You’ve Changed” spellbound concert-goers across the venue. “Tower of Glass,” “Discotraxx” and “Seventeen” also proved to be fan favorites during the 90-minute set.
“Chicago loves you,” an audience member shouted early in the night during what was Ladytron’s first stop in the city since 2011. The eight-year gap between performances was far too long, but inside the walls of Metro – under a dark, dreamy haze – it felt like no time had passed at all.
Ladytron has a handful of tour dates left on the 2019 calendar before closing things out at The UC Theatre in Berkeley on Dec. 14. Head over to Ladytron.com for more information about shows, albums, news and more.