Ah, sweet Ladytron… why did you have to release an album that features what is certainly one of 2005’s hottest singles — and one of the best electroclash songs I’ve heard in a long time — in the form of “Destroy Everything You Touch” as well as a song — “Sugar” — that “borrows” from The Doors’ “Hello I Love You”?!? One can’t just handle mixed signals like that. Fortunately, most of Witching Hour is much better than “Sugar.”
Unfortunately, none of the album ever comes close to matching the strength of “Destroy Everything You Touch.” Indeed, the entire album lives entirely within the shadow of that one song. A few of the songs are strong in their own right. For example, “International Dateline” bounces along on a robotic hopscotch beat as skeletal guitar lines finger their way beneath the detached vocals. And the seductive, swaying female voices chanting what sounds like a weird amalgamation of French and Russian amidst all manner of industrial noises on “Fighting In Built Up Areas” works much better on paper than it should.
But as a whole, Witching Hour just feels generic, especially when compared to their 2002’s Light & Magic. With the exception of “Destroy Everything You Touch” and maybe, on a good day, “International Dateline,” none of the songs offer any memorable melodies, hooks, etc. And without those things, the bored vocals of Mira Aroyo and Helena Marnie, which normally sound quite sexy, just sound, well, bored.
Maybe it’s due to the greater reliance on guitars this time around, which reduces the band’s sound into something more straightforward and takes away from the chilly synths and cold, harsh programming that made Ladytron’s music evoke such warm, fuzzy feelings in the past.
But as for “Destroy Everything You Touch,” it simply doesn’t get any better than this single. (Or video, for that matter.)