In Ladytron's slick sonic terrain, artificiality rules over all. While it's been almost ten years since the shadowy English quartet first began manufacturing its icy electro-pop, each new effort somehow feels more ominously man-made than the last. Before, they've drawn cryptic parallels between a sexy socialite's life and a "foreign coin on a telephone box / A question mark on a calendar / An empty seat on the alpha line," or imagined life being "like a transmission, on an empty channel, all lines are closed." On latest dispatch Velocifero, Ladytron even prophesizes, with eerie listlessness, what a human assembly line might produce: "They gave you a heart / They gave you a name / Released to the wild / With no one to tame." Helmed by a pair of waifish femmes (one of whom occasionally purrs in Bulgarian), it's no shock that this robotic Liverpudlian lot stay fixated on simulacra and simulation. Their synth-driven pulses are so mechanical that keyboards and sequencers appear to be the only instruments at work. However, dour as those lyrics might be, Ladytron's crisp electronica makes for superb club music. Hell, even in the post-Matrix wasteland, the drones will need something good to dance to.


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