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The Ladybug Transistor | s/t (Merge/Track and Field)
For their eponymous follow-up to the acclaimed 'Argyle Heir', Brooklyn-based five-piece The Ladybug Transistor upped sticks and ventured out of their regular Marlborough Farms studio for the altogether unexpected climes of Tucson, Arizona. But, here at the near-legendary Wavelab Studios, with Craig Scumacher at the board, these purveyors of baroque indie-pop resist succumbing to any affectations. On the contrary, the lush arrangements are a world away from the desertscapes of Calexico et al. Instead its from the deliciously vintage tones of Sasha Bell's keyboards, Jeff Baron's guitar and Gary Olson's anglocentric vocal stylings that the Ladybug sound derives. Paul Niehaus' pedal steel is a rare indicator of their temporary locale, gracing the seductive swirl of 3 = Wild and the Byrdsian jangle of Splendor in the Grass. Elsewhere effectively employed embellishments of horns and strings lift the likes of In December (with it's nifty Back on the Chain Gang closing motif) and closer The Last Gent to new heights, and the brisk buoyancy of Bell's The Places You'll Call Home and Hangin' On The Line keep up the infectious pop quota.

Matt Dornan
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003