Witching Hour

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Witching Hour
Ladytron - Witching Hour album cover.png
Studio album by
Released3 October 2005 (2005-10-03)
Recorded2004
Studio
  • Elevator (Liverpool, England)
  • Sahara Sound (London, England)
Genre
Length51:11
Language
  • English
  • Bulgarian
LabelIsland
Producer
Ladytron chronology
Softcore Jukebox
(2003)
Witching Hour
(2005)
Extended Play
(2006)
Singles from Witching Hour
  1. "Sugar"
    Released: 20 June 2005
  2. "Destroy Everything You Touch"
    Released: 19 September 2005
  3. "Weekend"
    Released: 2005
  4. "Soft Power"
    Released: 2007

Witching Hour is the third studio album by English electronic music band Ladytron. It was released on 3 October 2005 by Island Records. The album was promoted by four singles: "Sugar", "Destroy Everything You Touch", "Weekend" and "Soft Power".

Witching Hour received mostly positive reviews and reached number 81 on the UK Albums Chart. This album ranked at number 23 on Pitchfork's "Top 50 Albums of 2005",[3] and at number 48 on NME's "Albums and Tracks of the Year 2005".[4] In 2015, it featured on NME's list "50 Still-Awesome Albums That Made 2005 a Dynamite Year For Music".[5] As of February 2008, the album had sold 50,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.[6]

Production[edit]

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.[7] Within a few months, they had mapped out the entire record.[7]

By the time they were ready to start recording in April 2004, their UK label Telstar Records had gone into administration.[7] 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.[8] By June 2004, the album was ready, except mixed.[7]

This album was recorded in 2004 at Elevator Studios in Liverpool, 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 XLR8R, Daniel Hunt shared some information about the equipment used on Witching Hour: "most of the bassy riffs are a Roland SH-2 or a Korg MS-20. Reuben especially likes sticking his Korg MS-10 through Electro Harmonix boxes and fattening them up. For the poly stuff, we used Farfisa organs and 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".[7]

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".[7]

Release[edit]

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 DVD 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.[9]

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[edit]

Four singles were released from Witching Hour: "Sugar" on 20 June 2005, "Destroy Everything You Touch" on 19 September 2005, "Weekend" in 2005, and "Soft Power" in 2007. "International Dateline" was issued as a promotional single in 2005. "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.[10] According to Daniel Hunt, the band wanted to make a video for "Soft Power", but the plans were abandoned.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic78/100[11]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[12]
The A.V. ClubFavourable[13]
The Guardian4/5 stars[14]
musicOMHFavourable[15]
Pitchfork8.3/10[16]
Playlouder4/5 stars[17]
PopMatters8/10[18]
Stylus MagazineB+[19]
Tiny Mix Tapes4.5/5 marks[20]

Witching Hour received positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean 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".[11] Mark Pytlik of Pitchfork described the album as "the most urgent and immediate of their career" and also as a "quantum leap record".[16] Edward Oculicz of Stylus Magazine wrote 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".[19] Heather Phares of AllMusic commented 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".[12]

The Guardian described the album as "their most humane work, with abrasive atmospherics akin to those of My Bloody Valentine".[14] 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".[13] Adrien Begrand of PopMatters stated, "while Witching Hour has the band sounding more adventurous, there's a consistency to the tracks that holds it all together".[18] NME described the album as "a record that rather makes one want to have sex".[11] Kate Collier of Prefix Magazine wrote 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".[21]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."High Rise"4:54
2."Destroy Everything You Touch"Hunt4:36
3."International Dateline"Hunt4:17
4."Soft Power"
  • Hunt
  • Wu
5:19
5."CMYK"Wu1:49
6."AMTV"
3:26
7."Sugar"Hunt2:50
8."Fighting in Built Up Areas"
  • Aroyo
  • Hunt
  • Marnie
  • Wu
3:59
9."The Last One Standing"
  • Aroyo
  • Hunt
  • Marnie
  • Wu
3:11
10."Weekend"Hunt3:57
11."Beauty*2"Marnie4:23
12."Whitelightgenerator"
  • Aroyo
  • Hunt
  • Marnie
  • Wu
3:59
13."All the Way..."Hunt4:08

Witching Hour (Remixed & Rare)[edit]

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.

No.TitleLength
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[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Witching Hour.[22]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2005) Peak
position
Scottish Albums (OCC)[25] 81
UK Albums (OCC)[26] 81
UK Dance Albums (OCC)[27] 2
US Top Dance/Electronic Albums (Billboard)[28] 7
US Independent Albums (Billboard)[29] 40
US Heatseekers Albums (Billboard)[30] 32

Release history[edit]

Region Date Edition Label Ref.
United Kingdom 3 October 2005 Standard Island [31]
Germany 4 October 2005 Universal Music [32]
United States Rykodisc [33]
Germany 5 April 2007 Special Major [34]
United Kingdom 5 November 2007 So Sweet [35]
Germany 1 September 2009 Witching Hour (Remixed & Rare)
(digital only)
[36]
United Kingdom [37]
United States [38]
United States 18 January 2011 Reissue Nettwerk [39]
United Kingdom 24 January 2011 [40]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lawson, Liz (3 June 2018). "Ladytron: Velocifero". Paste. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  2. ^ Phares, Heather. "Velocifero – Ladytron". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Staff Lists: Top 50 Albums of 2005 - Features - Pitchfork".
  4. ^ "Albums and Tracks of the Year for 2002".
  5. ^ "50 Still-Awesome Albums That Made 2005 A Dynamite Year For Music". Archived from the original on 9 April 2015.
  6. ^ Peters, Mitchell (11 February 2008). "Touring Briefs: Parton, MSG Interactive, Ladytron". Billboard. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Ladytron: Spell Bound – XLR8R".
  8. ^ "Ladytron". Archived from the original on 17 December 2005.
  9. ^ "Ladytron – Witching Hour (CD, Album) at Discogs".
  10. ^ "Ladytron's Facebook page".
  11. ^ a b c "Witching Hour – Ladytron". Metacritic. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  12. ^ a b Phares, Heather. "Witching Hour – Ladytron". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  13. ^ a b Phipps, Keith (14 December 2005). "Ladytron: The Witching Hour". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  14. ^ a b Burgess, John (9 September 2005). "Ladytron, The Witching Hour". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  15. ^ Hubbard, Michael. "Ladytron – Witching Hour". musicOMH. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  16. ^ a b Pytlik, Mark (4 October 2005). "Ladytron: The Witching Hour". Pitchfork. Retrieved 15 May 2006.
  17. ^ Turner, Luke (30 September 2005). "Ladytron: Witching Hour". Playlouder. Archived from the original on 20 November 2006. Retrieved 15 May 2006.
  18. ^ a b Begrand, Adrien (5 October 2005). "Ladytron: Witching Hour". PopMatters. Archived from the original on 8 June 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  19. ^ a b Oculicz, Edward (14 October 2005). "Ladytron – Witching Hour". Stylus Magazine. Archived from the original on 30 March 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  20. ^ Grigsby (14 December 2006). "Ladytron - The Witching Hour". Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  21. ^ Collier, Kate (6 March 2008). "Album Review: Ladytron – Witching Hour". Prefix Magazine. Retrieved 3 June 2013.
  22. ^ Witching Hour (liner notes). Ladytron. Island Records. 2005. CID 8163.
  23. ^ "Pop Levi". Rage. 29 September 2007. Archived from the original on 19 December 2007.
  24. ^ http://www.imposemagazine.com/bytes/listen-pop-levi-dita-dimon
  25. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  26. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  27. ^ "Official Dance Albums Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  28. ^ "Ladytron Chart History (Top Dance/Electronic Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  29. ^ "Ladytron Chart History (Independent Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  30. ^ "Ladytron Chart History (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  31. ^ "Witching Hour". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  32. ^ "Witching Hour" (in German). Amazon.de. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  33. ^ "Witching Hour". Amazon.com. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  34. ^ "Witching Hour (Doppel-CD)" (in German). Amazon.de. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  35. ^ "Witching Hour (special edition)". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  36. ^ "Witching Hour (Remixed & Rare)" (in German). Amazon.de. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  37. ^ "Witching Hour (Remixed & Rare)". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  38. ^ "Witching Hour (Remixed & Rare)". Amazon.com. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  39. ^ "Witching Hour (2011)". Amazon.com. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  40. ^ "Ladytron: Witching Hour (2011)". HMV. Archived from the original on 11 October 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2011.