Review this album
Sep 10, 2013Wonderful work by the duo. Another dramatic turn of sound, taking them away from the 80's synthpop of Head First to this new sounds. Some say it is like a fusion of Felt Mountain and Seventh Tree, but I am not comfortable with that comparison. The song's are not as disjointed as Felt Mountain, nor as lush as Seventh Tree. They are menacingly sung haunting listens filled with character, haunting and beautiful.… Expand
Sep 10, 2013The formula for the new Goldfrapp Album is the following: FELT MOUNTAIN and SEVENTH TREE had a child who is a fan of Coldplay's PARACHUTES, and while the womb, Orchestral Music was playing. The Results are simply Magnificent. After their 80 's influenced HEADS FIRST, it is good to hear the duo has returned to what they do best: Hypnotic Electronic Ambient Music.
Oct 10, 2013Goldfrapp's latest album is a flash back to the past. Gone are the catchy, dance-infused choruses of old classics such as "Ooh La La", "Strict Machine" and "Rocket, the stripped-down, simplistic feel of the songs being reminiscent of their debut album Felt Mountain; and in my opinion, it's the best album they've released since then.
'Jo' starts the album off well, with it's pleasantly repetitive refrains sticking in the mind long after listening. 'Annabel,' like most of the tracks presented here, is infused throughout by a haunting sense of melancholy and sadness. Then there's 'Drew'. Radio stations seem to think of 'Drew' as the first single from the album, but I'm not so sure it is there's been no separate release other than the music video which was put on the internet. Still, it's one of the most striking songs on the album, classic Goldfrapp and just a little bit brilliant. 'Ulla' and 'Alvar' then follow, both nice enough songs in their own right but neither stand out enough at me that I can yet tell them apart. Track 6, 'Thea', is one of my favourites on the album, the only one with an audible beat and synth, a hark back to their previous album. I imagine that had they had more time on 'Head First', as they have openly admitted they needed, we would have had more songs like this. 'Simone' is next, which again is a nice enough song but it just feels a little bit too much like more of the same. 'Stranger' (the only song on the album which isn't a name) is proper, Felt Mountain era Goldfrapp. It's a great song. There's even some whistling. What more could you want? Then follows 'Laurel' which, like many of the other songs, has a haunting melody, and shows that Alison is still at her peak vocally remarkably for a woman of 47.
The album ends with 'Clay', a song so incredibly moving that it doesn't just make up for the sameyness of some of the other songs, it positively negates it. Astonishingly beautiful, particularly when you learn what the inspiration for the song was. I am being honest here when I say that this is possibly the best song ever to come from Alison and Will.
As a whole, whilst the album may at first to some appear to be a collection of similar sounding tunes, each one holds its own, and I can imagine that each will be the favourite of someone out there; which is something I have never said about a Goldfrapp album in the past. Unlike their previous releases, there's no weak link here perhaps it's just that some of the songs seem less impressive because of the incredible passion and heart of the ones surrounding them.
Despite this, it's their best album since Felt Mountain, and possibly even their best ever. A minor masterpiece.… Expand
Sep 14, 2013Ever since their 2000 debut album Felt Mountain fans have been yearning for a return to the creepy, melancholic sound that it presented. Not to say any of the albums that followed were a disappointment. Time and time again Goldfrapp prove their artistic merit and relevance through experimentation, reinvention, versatility, and overall quality music making. Whether it’s the dark and gloomy trip hop and electronic cabaret of Felt Mountain, the electro glam of Black Cherry, the dance floor romp Supernature, the folktronic and ocassionally psychedelic Seventh Tree, or the shimmery 80’s synthpop of Headfirst. This album is easily the closest thing to Felt Mountain, but is never just a rehash of old ideas. Tales of Us successfully marries the chilly strings and overall tone of Felt Mountain with the plucked acoustic guitars of Seventh Tree. While borrowing these sounds from those previous efforts, Tales of Us undeniably stands apart and on its own feet.
The album uniquely provides character sketches of 10 individuals starting darkly with “Jo”. Circling vocals of “Run, you better run” swirl overtop a paired piano and bass subtly rocking back and forth. “Annabel” which is happily reminiscent of Felt Mountain’s “Deer Stop” starts with a plucked acoustic guitar, but unlike Seventh Tree the acoustic instruments don’t add warmth, and in fact the cold lullaby of “Annabel” builds by the end as the stings grow dark and loud. “Drew” also begins with cascading plucky Guitar strings, but sounds brighter and warmer than it’s predecessor. Occasionally being interrupted by booms from a cello and an undercurrent of lush strings that build as the song progresses. “Ulla” and “Alvar” sound more like Seventh Tree. The former taking cues from the more ambient middle of Seventh Tree (“Road to Somewhere”, “Some People”), and “Alvar” with light droning and skittish electric guitars is more reminiscent of Seventh Tree’s slight psychedelia (“Little Bird”, “Cologne Cerrone Houdini”). On “Thea” scattered frantic strings pop in and out of crunching footsteps, and eventually pulsating drum and bass, and a smashing snare. This is the danciest the album gets, providing the perfect synthesis of the dark forest aesthetic of the album with the bright dance floor lights of their past music. “Simone” is a dark lamenting song that drifts through a haunting atmospheric melody and builds with some slight percussion and strings. Amazingly mysterious and beautiful, the film noir “Stanger” sounds like the beautiful child of Felt Mountain’s “Lovely Head” and “Pilots” complete with a lonesome whistling refrain and cinematic strings. “Laurel” mixes the melancholic harpsichord and dark strings of Felt Mountain with the contemplative piano of mid section Seventh Tree beautifully, with brooding, lamenting vocals. “Clay” ends the album on a hopeful more uplifting note. Soaring vocals rise over fast, bright, fluttering strings with a slight synth undercurrent.
This album is definitely harkens back to the sound of Felt Mountain, but stands separately as its own body of work worthy of being recognized for its own accomplishments. Despite their changes in style there’s always something about their music that always feels Goldfrapp. Their evocative lyrics, and the cinematic quality of their music, are forever present on all their albums to date. This album is a masterpiece, and anyone interested in beautifully crafted, lush, and eerie music should definitely pick up this album… Expand
Sep 21, 2013Goldfrapp return with their most breathtaking and mature album to date. You won't be disappointed by these inspiring and haunting songs. Having transformed once again into an entirely new beast, Goldfrapp dominate our senses with luscious melodies and sweeping strings. "Jo", "Thea" and "Clay" are the highlights of a very strong album which will surely be shortlisted for the Mercury Prize come next year.… Expand