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Ladytron: Song For The Cylon

This year probably won't see the release of a chillier album than Velocifero, the slept-on third record from the English electro-gloom band Ladytron: In mood and mien, Velocifero is coolly unemotional. It's also just plain cool. "Black Cat" is one two songs on the album sung entirely in Bulgarian, the native tongue of co-frontwoman Mira Aroyo. You can find a translation here, but maybe it's best not to look: Not knowing what Aroyo is singing only adds to the sense of icy mystery that Ladytron cultivates so well in "Black Cat."

Ladytron's shadowy sound has been compared to that of electroclash groups like Fischerspooner, and to the darker work of New Order, but Ladytron sounds like its own band. One signature is ghostly vocals: In "Black Cat," Aroyo sings in a pale, deadpan croon, sounding like she's conjuring something nasty. And though chilliness means never sounding like you're trying too hard, it's easy to wonder whether Ladytron's members actually slave over their arrangements. "Black Cat" feels expertly put-together, tossing in a big, blocky beat, German-industrial basslines, and other synth adornments, with maximum drama (but not schlock) the apparent goal. The result is a banger that could be on the playlist for a dance party thrown by the Cylons on Battlestar Galactica, if they were hipper.

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Christian Hoard