Time Flies

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Time Flies Review

by Heather Phares

Always a remarkably honest pop songwriter, Ladyhawke's Pip Brown proved she was capable of transforming dark moods and times into irresistible hooks on albums like Anxiety. Even when her music isn't strictly autobiographical, her songs echo her life, and Time Flies reflects the obstacles she's overcome without being too literal. Shaped by her anxiety and postpartum depression -- and the treatment she sought for both -- Brown's fourth album uses a light touch when it comes to potentially heavy emotions. "You seem a little bit off today," she inquires gently on the gauzy ballad "Loner," but more often, she uses Time Flies' rhythms to shimmy away from sorrow. "Walk Away"'s insistent grooves and the bubbly interstellar disco of "Think About You" are both highlights, as is "Mixed Emotions," a crisply rendered tale of two hearts playing tag that exemplifies Ladyhawke's instantly memorable but just left-of-center pop. There are reminders of why Brown was one of the leading lights of the late-2000s synth pop revival in the way "My Love" embraces heartache over a sleek bass line and handclaps, or how "Guilty Love" fuses glam rock's rolling toms and buzzy guitars with glittering keyboards. However, Time Flies' sparkly grab bag of sounds underscores that she never makes music strictly by the numbers. The mix of gossamer synths and stomping acoustic guitar rhythms on the self-care anthem "Take It Easy Mama" suggests what a 2020s collaboration between Electric Light Orchestra and Olivia Newton-John could sound like, and there's a Fleetwood Mac-like sweep to "Reactor." Brown heightens the album's easygoing feel by flirting with reggae on the title track, which pairs a loping beat with syrupy strings that sound like they were beamed in from a T. Rex album, and on "Love Is Blind," which closes the album with bittersweet dub and tender harmonies. While Brown's songwriting isn't always as sharply honed as it's been in the past, Time Flies is a fine example of just how much fun, and how therapeutic, well-crafted pop can be.

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