With seven million sales in the bag for 2012 release Born To Die, no one should expect a radical shake-up of the Lana Del Rey formula for album number three. And remember, it is a formula: a carefully calculated exercise that eventually transformed singer Lizzie Grant into the "self-styled gangsta Nancy Sinatra" whose "Hollywood sadcore" songs, especially YouTube magnet Video Games, were continually compared to David Lynch soundtracks.
Here, even The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach seems to be on a short leash at the production desk, as there is nothing on Ultraviolence that does not pick up from where Born To Die and the follow-up Paradise EP left off.
If anything, the view into Lana Del Rey's world is slightly more monochromatic now. And so we have another set of torch songs that have stepped through the looking glass, shuffling along to eyelid-heavy beats and wrapping up tight in minor chords. What Ultraviolence loses in musical diversity and instant pop hooks, it gains in hypnotic consistency and a stronger vocal performance.
Fans of Glasgow band Kassidy, miffed that Barrie-James O'Neill has quit to join his girlfriend Stateside, should note his co-writer credit on Brooklyn Baby. "Yeah, my boyfriend's pretty cool," Lana croons, "but he's not as cool as me."
Most of Lana Del Rey is persona; that bit at least could be true.