Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Shawn Biggs at Studio Paradiso, San Francisco, California
There are all of these moments in Ladyhawke songs where Pip Brown puts down her torch and sounds like a person who's worried that they're starting right into the eyes of one more bitter end. She mostly sounds like that powerful provocateur and then she strips back all that armor to reveal the tender and vulnerable belly that we all have, that we all try to keep as covered as we possibly can, when we're out there, roaming around with the beasts, the cars and the ghosts. Earlier today, I was reading about a photography showcase, put together by a professional basketball player, of his own work and someone posed a question to him, wondering how he decides whether to shoot in black and white or in color. He said that it was just a feel thing and it depended on the subject of the shot. The interviewer then asked why he shot a lion in one of his photographs in color, as if insisting that any dummy knows that the lion should have been shot in black and white, like all good photos of lions are, and the basketball player said, "I thought there was way too much passion in his eyes, in his mane, to take that away."
It seemed like a poignant thought and one that feels as if it plays out in Ladyhawke's music. Brown would likely love it if there was nothing to choose between, if she only had to present her stories in a black and white manner, but even the insinuation should get you chuckled at. It's never, ever as clean as that. It's always harder to present passion that way and Ladyhawke songs are almost all passion. The thing is, when mostly presented with sweeping strokes of black and white, as she does here, the words and emotions that she presents can't help but be more pronounced and more effective, when they burst out at you like they were from the Land of Oz.
These tales of love and bummer roam around as if they were lumbering and antique party animals, experts at the grind of it all, pleased to be sitting this one out, only that's not a choice that they can make. No matter how much these characters would like to downplay what they've gotten themselves into, they are in it and it's going to affect them. It's here where they lights get bright and hot and Ladyhawke digs in. She sings, "Please don't go/I need your love/Waiting for the rains to behave so you'll come around/And take me on a Sunday drive." It's a back and forth, between passion and want and settling into that mundane existence with someone that always tends to get stale, even if that's all that's desired. All of the fuss, any of the fuss we make, happens to be about not letting someone else take the passion out of our eyes or just not letting it flame out on our own.