Music November 1, 2008 By Arye Dworken
ladyhawke1 Ladyhawke
Photography by Alice Hawkins

ladyhawke title Ladyhawke

Of all the tough decisions to make in life, picking Heart over Pat Benatar doesn’t really qualify. Yet Phillipa “Pip” Brown, or the musician known as Ladyhawke, is deliberating over which femme rocker she would consider a primary influence. “It’s not fair to make me pick one,” she jokes. “I would say Heart just based on the merit of “Magic Man”. The New Zealand-born electro-pop singer is on the phone promoting her guiltily pleasurable self-titled debut, an unabashed amalgamation of all the great synth-pop records of yesteryear. “I had a lot of great memories of listening to music while growing up,” Brown explains. “Yeah, I listened to Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins as a teen, but it’s the Pet Shop Boys, Madonna, and Split Enz that I find myself coming back to now.” And while Brown is keenly aware of the inevitable naysayer union’s dismissal that her songwriting is either ironic or cheesy, she has already prepared a response for those skeptical about her sincerity: “You’re damned if you do it your way, and you’re damned if you don’t. But I’m not second-guessing anything. I was so sick of brooding. I’ve done the depressing lyrics and writing sad songs thing for so long. My heart wanted to be happy and write poppy songs.” A seemingly modest goal for a newcomer but Brown’s songs go way beyond the typical, top-40 call of booty. Her dance-inducing singles, like the shimmering new-wavy “Paris Is Burning” and her Chrissie Hynde impression as heard on “Back of the Van” are a time machine to our favorite musical era.