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Witching Hour

 

Witching Hour

Witching Hour
Studio album by Ladytron
Released 3 October 2005 (2005-10-03)
Recorded 2004 at Elevator Studios (Liverpool, UK)
Genre Electronic, synthpop, new wave, dream pop, shoegaze
Length 51:11
Label Island Records (UK)
Universal Music (Germany)
Rykodisc (US)
Major Records (Germany)
So Sweet Records (UK, US)
Nettwerk (re-release)
Producer Ladytron, Jim Abbiss
Ladytron chronology
Softcore Jukebox
(2003)
Witching Hour
(2005)
Velocifero
(2008)
Singles from Witching Hour
  1. "Sugar"
    Released: 20 June 2005
  2. "Destroy Everything You Touch"
    Released: 19 September 2005
  3. "International Dateline"
    Released: 2005
  4. "Weekend"
    Released: 2005
  5. "Soft Power"
    Released: 2007

Witching Hour is the third studio album by English electronic band Ladytron. It was released in the United Kingdom on 3 October 2005 by Island Records and on 4 October 2005 in Europe by Universal Music Group and United States by Rykodisc. The album was promoted by two singles: "Sugar" and "Destroy Everything You Touch".

Witching Hour received mostly positive reviews and reached number 81 on UK Albums Chart. NME included this album at number 48 on their "Albums and Tracks of the Year" for 2005 list.[1] In 2015, it featured on NME's list "50 Still-Awesome Albums That Made 2005 a Dynamite Year For Music".[2]

Contents

  • Production 1
  • Release 2
  • Singles 3
  • Commercial performance 4
  • Reception 5
  • Track listing 6
  • Witching Hour (Remixed & Rare) 7
  • Personnel 8
  • Charts 9
  • Release history 10
  • References 11

Production

Ladytron began working on demos for Witching Hour immediately after concluding Light & Magic tour with a homecoming gig in Liverpool in September 2003, where they were supported by Franz Ferdinand.[3] Within a few months, they had mapped out the entire record.[3]

By the time they were ready to start recording in April 2004, their UK label Telstar Records had gone into administration.[3] Their US label, Emperor Norton, also had problems: the company was purchased by Rykodisc in 2004 and was then shut down later that year, with Rykodisc inheriting its back-catalogue.

The band announced on 7 December 2004 that they signed to Island Records.[4] By June 2004, the album was ready, except mixed.[3]

This album was recorded in 2004 at Elevator Studios (Liverpool, Merseyside) and it was produced by Ladytron and Jim Abbiss. They also had two collaborators: Pop Levi played bass and Keith York played drums.

In a 2005 interview for Solina string machines–basically the same stuff we've used all along, but we probably treated it a bit rougher. We also used a load of the producer's toys as well–Reuben's got an ARP 2600, which you can sit around with for a full day trying to get something useful out of and fail, and the next day you switch it on and it'll automatically make something genius. I've got this really shit, five-pound, sub-Casio keyboard that I got off this trader; the chords for 'International Dateline' were written on that. It's good to have that kind of gear. The shit toys can end up being quite inspirational".[3]

Regarding their approach as producers, he also added: "our approach goes back to the whole Eno/Bowie Low thing – the treatments are as important as the synths. We like to confuse synths and guitars quite a lot–there are some things people hear they assume is a guitar that's a synth and vice versa. On the last album, there were guitars all over 'Cease2xist' and a few of the other songs, but they were treated in a way that people didn't recognize them".[3]

Release

Witching Hour was released on 3 October 2005 in the United Kingdom by Island Records and on 4 October 2005 in Europe by Universal Music Group and United States by Rykodisc.

The initial pressings included at the end of the album, an untitled 9 minutes and 3 seconds track of complete silence, not listed on back of jewel case insert. Some editions didn't include the instrumental "CMYK". The silence and the omission of "CMYK" makes the album exactly one hour long, as a nod to the album's title.

Island also released a limited edition containing a bonus disc with the music videos of "Seventeen", "Sugar", "Destroy Everything You Touch", and the documentary Once Upon a Time in the East: Ladytron in China, detailing highlights of their 2004 tour across China.[5]

Major Records released on 5 April 2007 in Europe a special edition of the album, including a bonus disc with remixes and B-sides. So Sweet Records did the same on 5 November 2007 in the United Kingdom and the United States, with a different bonus disc.

The album was re-released by Nettwerk on 18 January 2011 in the United States and on 24 January 2011 in the United Kingdom. This edition included four additional remixes.

Singles


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Five songs from Witching Hour were released as singles: "Sugar" on 20 June 2005, "Destroy Everything You Touch" on 19 September 2005, "International Dateline" in 2005 as promo only, "Weekend" in 2005, and "Soft Power" in 2007.

"Destroy Everything You Touch" reached number 42 on the UK Singles Chart, the highest position a Ladytron single has reached to date. It also became the band's best known song.

The album was also promoted by two music videos: "Sugar" (directed by Andy Roberts) and "Destroy Everything You Touch" (directed by Adam Bartley). The unfinished video for "International Dateline" was rediscovered and finished by Daniel Hunt in 2012, and premiered on 22 February 2013.[6]

According to Daniel Hunt, the band wanted to make a fourth video for "Soft Power", but the plans were abandoned.

Commercial performance

Witching Hour charted at number 81 on UK Albums Chart, number 7 on US Top Electronic Albums, number 32 on US Top Heatseekers and number 40 on US Top Independent Albums.

Reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (78/100)[7]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic [8]
The A.V. Club (favourable)[9]
The Guardian [10]
musicOMH (favourable)[11]
Pitchfork Media (8.3/10)[12]
Playlouder [13]
PopMatters (8/10)[14]
Prefix Magazine 8.0/10[15]
Stylus Magazine B+[16]
Tiny Mix Tapes [17]

Witching Hour received positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 78, based on 21 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[7]

According to Tiny Mix Tapes, "the standouts are too numerous to mention, and all in all, Ladytron have set a new peak, getting to the heart of their best previous moments and expanding on them".[17] Mark Pytlik, writing for Pitchfork, rated the album 8.3 and described it as "the most urgent and immediate of their career" and also as a "quantum leap record".[12]

Edward Oculicz of Stylus magazine scored Witching Hour a B+ and said that "those who have loved Ladytron's move toward a mix of harsher electro and lighter pop elements will find this a welcome progression, and seemingly a natural one, too".[16] Heather Phares of Allmusic, rated the album four stars of five and said that "Witching Hour is the album that Ladytron always seemed capable of, and its dark, dreamy-yet-catchy spell makes it the band's most sophisticated, and best, work to date".[8]

The Guardian described the album as "their most humane work, with abrasive atmospherics akin to those of My Bloody Valentine" and gave it a 4 stars of 5 rating.[10] Keith Phipps of The A.V. Club felt that "The Witching Hour doesn't vary much from the pattern established by its predecessors, but it's every bit as beguiling".[9]

Adrien Begrand, writing for PopMatters, gave the album an 8/10 rating and also said: "while Witching Hour has the band sounding more adventurous, there's a consistency to the tracks that holds it all together".[14] NME described the album as "a record that rather makes one want to have sex".[7] Kate Collier of Prefix Magazine rated the album 8.0 and said that "Ladytron's greatest accomplishment here is the atmosphere of cool beauty it creates immediately and maintains to the finish. It's rare for an album to transport you so fully onto its own terrain, and Witching Hour is a worthwhile retreat".[15]

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Ladytron. 

No. Title Length
1. "High Rise"   4:54
2. "Destroy Everything You Touch"   4:36
3. "International Dateline"   4:17
4. "Soft Power"   5:19
5. "CMYK"   1:49
6. "AMTV"   3:26
7. "Sugar"   2:50
8. "Fighting in Built Up Areas"   3:59
9. "The Last One Standing"   3:11
10. "Weekend"   3:57
11. "Beauty*2"   4:23
12. "Whitelightgenerator"   3:59
13. "All the Way..."   4:08

Witching Hour (Remixed & Rare)

On 20 December 2011, Nettwerk released a compilation of remixes, B-sides and rarities titled Witching Hour (Remixed & Rare). The cover is the negative of the Witching Hour cover.

Track listing
No. Title Length
1. "International Dateline" (Simian Mobile Disco Remix) 5:40
2. "Weekend" (James Iha Mix) 4:02
3. "Soft Power" (Vicarious Bliss Gutter Mix) 6:46
4. "Destroy Everything You Touch" (Hot Chip Remix Edit) 6:50
5. "Sugar" (Archigram Remix) 6:12
6. "Citadel"   3:54
7. "Nothing to Hide"   3:51
8. "Soft Power" (Loz & Brendan Long Remix) 7:37
9. "High Rise" (Club Mix) 6:09
10. "Destroy Everything You Touch" (Playgroup Vocal Edit) 5:25
11. "Tender Talons"   3:31

Personnel

Charts

Chart (2005) Peak
position
UK Albums Chart[20] 81
US Top Electronic Albums[21] 7
US Top Heatseekers[21] 32
US Top Independent Albums[21] 40

Release history

Country Date Label Edition
United Kingdom 3 October 2005[22] Island Standard
Germany 4 October 2005[23][24] Universal Music
United States Rykodisc
Germany 5 April 2007[25] Major Special
United Kingdom 5 November 2007[26] So Sweet
Germany 1 September 2009[27][28][29] Redbird, Cobraside Witching Hour (Remixed & Rare)
(digital only)
United Kingdom
United States
United States 18 January 2011[30] Nettwerk Re-release
United Kingdom 24 January 2011[31]

References

  1. ^ "Albums and Tracks of the Year for 2002 - NME.COM". 
  2. ^ "50 Still-Awesome Albums That Made 2005 A Dynamite Year For Music - NME.COM". 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Ladytron: Spell Bound – XLR8R". 
  4. ^ "Ladytron". 
  5. ^ "Ladytron – Witching Hour (CD, Album) at Discogs". 
  6. ^ "Ladytron's Facebook page". 
  7. ^ a b c "Witching Hour – Ladytron".  
  8. ^ a b Phares, Heather. "Witching Hour – Ladytron – Review".  
  9. ^ a b Phipps, Keith (14 December 2005). "Ladytron: The Witching Hour".  
  10. ^ a b Burgess, John (9 September 2005). "Ladytron, The Witching Hour".  
  11. ^ Hubbard, Michael. "Ladytron – Witching Hour".  
  12. ^ a b Pytlik, Mark (4 October 2005). "Ladytron: The Witching Hour".  
  13. ^ Turner, Luke (30 September 2005). "Ladytron: Witching Hour".  
  14. ^ a b Begrand, Adrien (5 October 2005). "Ladytron: Witching Hour".  
  15. ^ a b Collier, Kate (6 March 2008). "Album Review: Ladytron – Witching Hour – Prefix". Prefix Magazine. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  16. ^ a b Oculicz, Edward (14 October 2005). "Ladytron – Witching Hour".  
  17. ^ a b "Ladytron – The Witching Hour – Music Review – Tiny Mix Tapes".  
  18. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/rage/archive/s2045308.htm
  19. ^ http://www.imposemagazine.com/bytes/listen-pop-levi-dita-dimon
  20. ^ "Chart Log UK: 1994–2010".  
  21. ^ a b c "Witching Hour – Ladytron".  
  22. ^ "Witching Hour: Ladytron".  
  23. ^ "Ladytron – Witching Hour" (in German).  
  24. ^ "Witching Hour: Ladytron".  
  25. ^ "Witching Hour [Doppel-CD]: Ladytron" (in German).  
  26. ^ "Witching Hour (special edition): Ladytron".  
  27. ^ "Witching Hour (Remixed & Rare): Ladytron" (in German).  
  28. ^ "Witching Hour (Remixed & Rare): Ladytron".  
  29. ^ "Witching Hour (Remixed & Rare): Ladytron".  
  30. ^ "Witching Hour: Ladytron (2011)".  
  31. ^ "Ladytron: Witching Hour (2011)".  
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