Sometimes an important part of creativity is defining the boundaries and staying firmly between them. The UK synth-pop band Ladytron has excelled at this, producing four albums that together carry such a signature sound that it would be a formula if it weren't done so well. Velocifero continues the quartet's stock in trade of dark, dance-floor-ready electronica, building on the fuller, more forceful sound of 2006's excellent Witching Hour.
A big part of Ladytron's charm comes from Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo's Kraftwerk-esque dual vocals, which sound robotic and coolly alluring, as if the fashion models who once backed Robert Palmer formed their own band after taking time off to go to college, smoke French cigarettes, and write a lot of smart, moody poetry about their ex-boyfriends. (That may not be far from the truth, considering that Aroyo has a Ph.D. in genetics.) Aroyo's Bulgarian lyrics on "Black Cat" and "Kletva" add another exotic touch, but at core, Ladytron's strength is its sure grasp of Pet Shop Boys-style pop songcraft, which weaves memorable melodies into songs about anxiety-ridden love affairs and the ennui of a Sunday afternoon in a world where God is dead.