Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Album Review: Goldfrapp - Seventh Tree

I'll admit it: Allison Goldfrapp is one of a handful of girls that could turn me into a lipstick lesbian for a few hours. Many years ago, I had the pleasure of seeing Goldfrapp live in DC, and the effect Ms. Goldfrapp had on the crowd was impressive. Never before had I seen so many lovesick boys in one place before. And who could blame them? She was decked out in all black, including short shorts, with knee high stiletto boots, striding around the stage like a caged tiger. Coupled with the brand of sexploitative electrorock Goldfrapp was touting at the time (they were touring the heartily sexy Black Cherry album), Allison Goldfrapp was arguably the sexiest thing in music that night. Years later, she's still got her appeal, but like her band, in a totally different way.

Seventh Tree is not like anything else Goldfrapp has ever released. It's closest to debut album Felt Mountain, but really just because they're both more down-tempo than either the romping Black Cherry or the glittery stomp of Supernature. Though I should have known better, when first hearing this latest manifestation of the Goldfrapp sound, I was completely taken aback. They got me, once again. It's as if Seventh Tree is the inevitable comedown after the hedonism of disco-fuelled excesses celebrated on Supernature. The almost soothing swirl is a tonic to the soul. "Clowns," the album opener, confused me a little initially. At times it sounds like Ms. Goldfrapp is about to indulge in some good old yodelling, which happily doesn't occur. "Eat Yourself" is an entrancing song, as is the next track "Some People." At this point in the album, you realize that the best thing about Goldfrapp has always been that voice, with her range and bag of tricks. The lady can sing just about anyone under the table. "A&E" sounds very much like the single that it is, very solid, and it's a little more romantical than the usual outright, blatant sex of the Goldfrapp I've come to know and love. My favorite is "Cologne Cerrone Houdini," which, go figure, is probably the sauciest track, sonically speaking, on the album.

It isn't my favorite Goldfrapp album, but it's still pretty fantastic. And I have the utmost respect for bands that can keep reinventing themselves time after time. It sure does keep things interesting.

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