In 2001, the first fruits of what would become the new electronic-rock movement began to fall. LADYTRON's debut, 604, was an integral part of that first strike. A pristine, analog adventure of sound and substance, the album would go on to influence the genre itself, while the group quietly made a global impact both visually and stylistically.
Hits like "Playgirl" and "Seventeen" (from their 2002 follow-up, Light & Magic) quietly rebelled against the bratty, disingenuous motifs of the time, instead invoking the sonic storytelling of groups like Air, Stereolab, and My Bloody Valentine. Ladytron's counterbalance of emotional vulnerability and psychological ingenuity–personified by the opposing vocals of Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo—created their own world that had yet to be fully explored.
Their live performances immediately set them apart: "We wanted to play all those exotic instruments live," says Mira of the mountain of antique synths the group brandished on stage. Daniel Hunt adds, "Not many people ever performed that way, besides Emerson, Lake and Palmer or something. It felt like hanging around at Bell Labs in 1970."
A year's worth of touring and experimentation led to the creation of Witching Hour, Ladytron's most sonically complex production to date. It retained the unmistakable, mechanized warmth of their Korg MS20s, but Reuben Wu's dynamic programming coupled with Hunt's shoegazey guitar layers in tracks like the intoxicating single "Destroy Everything You Touch," "International Dateline" and "High Rise" flexed a more indie rock tenacity. While the album showed distinct creative growth, their resilience outside the studio provided a different kind of maturity; the group took to the road on the strength of their massive cult following, booking sold-out tours across North America and Europe, and playing for capacity crowds in China and Latin America. Ladytron toured exhaustively over the next two years, performing for over 4, 000 people in Bogota, Columbia—where their show was eventually shut down by local military.
Their most recent album, 2008's Velocifero continued this trend. "At no point have we ever responded to anything that's been going on outside," says Mira. "There are always going to be people who want you to remain in the same place forever, but that's not the way you make music, or anything else. It's obvious that you have to be allowed the benefit of the doubt to do whatever you want, because ultimately when you started out, there was no one there to tell you what to do. You just did it." Audiences will have ample opportunity to take in Ladytron's synthesis, and see for themselves how the group has redefined the genre they helped establish.