Ladyhawke, ‘Ladyhawke’ (Modular)
Plundering the 1980s for inspiration (shock!), 27-year- old New Zealander Pip Brown emerges with a confection of synth-infused, mammoth-chorused tunes that sound surprisingly and thrillingly fresh. The trick lies in Brown’s blissfully irony-free attitude: Through the digital wizardry and pumping beats, you can hear an unabashedly heartfelt and occasionally vulnerable artist. The exquisite “Love Don’t Live Here” — a wistful tale of rejection — starts small before unexpectedly building into a disco-fueled, bluesy-guitar-tinged epic, while the juddering “Magic” recalls New Order but pulses with an addictive grandeur of its own.