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Goldfrapp – ‘Seventh Tree’ Review

There is, in a lot of us, a strange and powerful dichotomy between what we are and what we want to be. It manifests itself in how we dress, what we listen to, how we define ourselves. It is very difficult to sound confident in yourself unless you truly are. You may manage it now and again, but really, you need to become what you are, as a wise woman said many moons ago.

Goldfrapp have always appeared to be playing the field of musical styles in their career till now, trying to decide which one suited them best. Indeed, it’s often appeared that whatever character frontwoman Allison Goldfrapp has been trying on has been the prominent influence in shaping the group sound. We’ve been introduced to retro popster, Glam Rock sex kitten, Electro-Ice Queen. They had never made a bad record up to this point, but they had never made a truly great one. They tended to be musical prickteases, flirting with each fad without really committing to it. Always so cool as to be ice-cold, it was hard to shake the assumption that Goldfrapp were just playing at it.

That assumption is blown out the water by ‘Seventh tree’, a gorgeous slice of electronic-flavoured pastoral rock in which Goldfrapp throw away the dressing up box and emerge as themselves. Softer, deeper and more melancholic than most of their previous work, the stridency is replaced by an almost sensual, slow-burning selection of songs which offer no artifice and are all the more resonant for it. ‘You know it, you owe it to yourself’ Goldfrapp croons on the haunting ‘Some People’, as much to herself as to the audience, almost as if she has realised that the band, unadorned and unadulterated, offer so much more than when they offer updated imitation of other artists. ‘A&E’ is simply gorgeous, all haunting glamour and colour. ‘Happiness’ is one of those songs which will simply not dislodge itself from your brain, no matter what happens. Album closer ‘Monster Love’ is a stark, wonderful end to an uplifting, summery album which will sound as good when you are lying in a picnic field drinking white wine as it will at the end of the day as you relax and contemplate the beauty of the day.

Indeed, there is a gentle melancholia matched by an effervescent optimism on show here; the sort of achingly terrific feeling you get at the end of a great day, when the sadness at the realisation that the moment has gone is buttressed by the knowledge that there is more to come. Goldfrapp have finally arrived at who they are, and delivered a complete work which will play in your head all summer long. Highly recommended.

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3 Responses

  1. Like that. Its been an album that I have been badly neglecting though! Too much music… A mate of mine swears by it and he normally shies away from any form of female vocalist!

  2. Although I think I finally wore him down when I got him into Blonde Redhead’s last album. The floodgates have now been opened!

  3. I was always wary in my youngers days, but these day, I’m finding the ladies overtaking the boys!

    I’d also recommend Silversun Pickups if you liked Blonde Redhead.

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