Goldfrapp – [Album]

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Everyone's in search of the fountain of youth these days. We're desperate to keep time standing still and desperate to avoid wrinkles. Whatever happened to aging gracefully? I don't know about you, but I think Madonna at 49 is the hottest thing ever, and she's only going to get older. They don't call it MILF for nothing, ya' know. Alright, Allison Goldfrapp certainly isn't the Material Girl but let's face it, she's definitely part of the over-21 club.

Known for the darker side of disco, as explored on debut Felt Mountain and follow-up Black Cherry, the dreamscape pop of Seventh Tree comes at a bit of a surprise. The journos are knocking it for being too bland for the likes of those on the big search for the next big thing. They can't stand it when someone actually sounds their age. Wouldn't it be more troubling if Goldfrapp were to sound like she's squeezing in a 20-something sound? I say, just because it doesn't sound like a slave to the latest teenage trend, doesn't mean that it's tasteless. Just because the music doesn't drip with adolescent overcompensation, doesn't mean it's suffering a mid-life crisis. Since when was the pop world owned by the kids? Last time I checked, Britney was shaving her head while Kylie was selling out arenas.

If Supernature is the debacherous night out then Seventh Tree is the morning after; with its Sunday-morning, reflective fuzziness. It's the sound of a settled, mature and confident artist that isn't desperately trying to win you over. The artist has already won you over and you're discussing the sweet rewards over coffee on Pluto. It's a bit Sgt. Pepper in its dreaminess, painted with excessive, but relaxed color, riding a psychadelia that stylishly sparkles. But anyone who knows anything about anything knows that this new-found accessibility isn't so new found. The commercial success of Supernature's "Ooh La La," providing soundtrack for everything from Desperate Housewives to English sofa blow-outs, proves that accessibility's been there from the start. 

"Little Bird" has a bit of a percussive freak out, the kind that sounds druggy and fluorescent, while "Happiness" has a bit of the Mr. Kite come-one, come-all illusiveness. While it doesn't cater to listeners who look for an album of singles, Seventh Tree is a slow burn that doesn't pick up until track nine. There's a continuous theme of vintage-hued fancy, phantasmal figments, and a fairy-tale nature that hugs back. You won't find an "Ooh La La" on here, but believe me, that's a good thing. Allison Goldfrapp maintains a modern-age Marlene Dietrich seductiveness, just this time it's clouded by cotton candy rather than the dark corners of discos.

Seventh Tree is out now on Mute.

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