prez gorite, prez poliata, pod zvezdite, nad zhitata

Imagine that you are transported to a cutting-edge club in 1982. A new band comes on; they are something more than human, something that escapes emotion and time. Two contrasting female vocalists, two complementary male keyboardists, matching black military uniforms and black hair for all. There is no sex, no passion, and there is certainly not audience participation. And what do they sing about? Nothing substantial, which is the way that they like it. Not that you can tell.

604 is Ladytron's first full-length album. Almost all of the songs were written months or years before the CD was released, but that just diversifies the sound a bit. There are electronics galore. Helen Marnie's smooth and breathy singing goes along with the music, which ranges from electronic disco to electronic pop craziness.

Track Listing:

  1. Mu-Tron (2:58)
    Completely instrumental. It sounds like you would imagine winter would sound like, which is true for much of Ladytron's catalogue.
  2. Discotraxx (3:50)
    Like you would expect, a really great disco-y song that benefits from both Helen and Mira singing different parts.
  3. Another Breakfast With You (3:03)
  4. CSKA Sofia (2:22)
    A very calm instrumental that sounds like a Russian winter wonderland... in space.
  5. The Way That I Found You (3:29)
  6. Paco! (3:00)
    A fun song, very similar to the opening theme of Are You Being Served?. Mira's unfailingly strict intonation almost makes it haunting, which is definitely a Good Thing.
  7. Commodore Rock (4:47)
    These lyrics are entirely in Bulgarian.
  8. Zmeyka (3:14)
  9. Playgirl (3:49)
    This song is dangerously danceable. The only problem is that I have no idea how I would even begin dancing to any Ladytron music. The music, the clapping, the Helen-Mira vocals... a wonder. I bought this song from iTunes before I had a chance to listen to 604 and Light & Magic.
  10. I'm With The Pilots (2:43)
  11. This Is Our Sound (4:09)
  12. He Took Her To A Movie (3:10)
    This was Ladytron's first single, and their only song with singer that isn't Mira or Helen (Lisa Eriksson). The sound is more minimalist.
  13. Laughing Cavalier (1:08)
    A short instrumental that reminds me of screaming, or maybe a factory.
  14. Ladybird (4:38)
  15. Jet Age (3:10)
  16. Skools Out... (4:08)

Playgirl and Jet Age have music videos: Playgirl's video is very minimal and in-your-face with vintage technology; the opening shot is a close-up of a typewriter keyboard. The camera goes to Helen, who is singing, maybe dancing, and definitely having a neutral time. Eventually the camera starts following a woman in a medical robe and the video stops making sense. Jet Age is a retro-ish emotionless video that continues the story of the lyrics about a man and a woman who are running away and may or may not become a couple or be the same person. Of course, the actors are more or less mannequins until some sort of flashback scene.

Later versions of the CD have recordings from a concert in Sofia, Bulgaria at the end: USA Vs. White Noise, He Took Her To A Movie, and Commodore Rock, as well as a very strange remix of Playgirl. The live recordings definitely seem to have more passion in them than the studio versions, and they just make me want to go to a Ladytron concert. I have now been to a Ladytron concert and there is definitely more passion. Mira even did a little excited jump towards the end!

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