Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Song: A&E
Artist: Goldfrapp
Album: Seventh Tree

With the release of 2005’s “Supernature,” Goldfrapp became one of the leading groups making disco-influenced electronic music. “Supernature” was what seemed like the climax of an evolution that started with their debut, 2000’s “Felt Mountain.” “Mountain” was a trip-hop meets cinematic soundscapes mood record that garnered the group immediate attention and was short listed for the coveted Mercury Prize. Their follow up, “Black Cherry” pushed their sound a bit further. Not wanting to repeat what they had done with “Mountain,” everything was just a bit MORE, most exemplified by the international hit “Strict Machine.” (You’ve heard it in a number of advertisements here in the States.) Given that remixes of “Black Cherry” tracks became huge club hits, Goldfrapp decided to once again go further into all-out dance and the result was the mind-blowing “Supernature” which garnered the group their first U.K. top five (“Oh La La”) and two other top twenty hits.

“Supernature” was one of my favorite records of that year, a non-stop catchy mix of current electronica yet keeping with the group’s penchant for writing actual songs. I can’t recommend it enough, especially the final track “Number 1,” a stunner. I remember hearing the group say that they were unsure of their direction after “Supernature” as they thought that album represented the best of what they could do with that sound. And they had no intention, as before, of repeating themselves. I remember getting a touch sad hearing this… I LOVED “Supernature,” and well… wanted more “Supernature!”

Next month will find the release of their fourth album “Seventh Tree” and what have they done? Well they’ve defied my expectations, and created a record that is NOT “Supernature” yet distinctively Goldfrapp. At first listen I was shocked… and now I am thrilled. “Seventh Tree” is an amazing record. They have returned (sort of) to the lush trip-hop of “Felt Mountain” but have added acoustic guitar and tight songwriting giving the songs an organic folk-like vibe. Lead track “Clowns” opens simply with Alison Goldfrapp’s voice and acoustic guitar, then gives way to romantic strings. It’s quiet and beautiful and sets the pace for the rest of the record. Lead single “A&E” is probably the most upbeat of the bunch, but it truly a stunner. In a way it’s the perfect bridge from “Supernature’s” super-disco. It’s the morning after the party, after the dancing, and she’s still up, grappling with the feelings for another… possibly drug induced, but there, and clear. It’s great.

If you’re a “Supernature” fan, you might really not like “Seventh Tree.” And while I certainly could have taken another helping of their hard-hitting dance music, this album cements the group as one to really watch. I predict a lot of people discussing “Tree” this year and Goldfrapp in general. With this album the band move themselves into a new category… the Radiohead of electro-pop.


A video from each record thus far…


Strict Machine

Oh La La


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