Goldfrapp – Seventh Tree (Mute)
Few things in life are certain, things in the music industry even less so. Those involved with Goldfrapp, however, must have thought they were on to a sure commercial thing with the follow up to the shiny pop beast that was Supernature. So all conquering – both critically and commercially – that only a fool or a true eccentric would mess with the formula. Well Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory ain’t no fools but….let’s just say that while Mute may have been supportive, perhaps those higher up the EMI ladder will have been less delighted by Seventh Tree.
The listener too may find it something of a challenge, with the disco ball stomp replaced by a soothing, acoustic air more reminiscent of their first record. Even then they don’t make things easy. ‘A&E’, the lovely first single, is buried towards the end of the album. To get there you have to slip through an opening salvo that doesn’t introduce a recognisable beat until track three and isn’t exactly heavy on the traditional chorus verse chorus approach. Get your head around that and Seventh Tree comes into its own. You might even call it an ambient record, if that didn’t throw up horrible images of car ads, coffee tables and dinner parties.
Even at her most laid back though, Alison Goldfrapp is a powerful presence – one that doesn’t necessarily need a horse’s head or Theremin sex toy to make its point. Yet it is an album that works best when at its most vibrant – that elegant single and ‘Caravan Girl’, the collection’s most pop and subsequently best moment.
As with their whole career, Goldfrapp have managed to confound expectation yet again and make a record that’s very easy listening tone makes it hard work.
Goldfrapp – A&E