Saturday, February 23, 2008
The Pills Won't Help You: Goldfrapp's Seventh Tree
This review appears in Washington Square News.
After the success of "Supernature," which sold over a million copies and spawned a string of hit singles, Goldfrapp has earned a break. On "Seventh Tree," the group substitutes its usual synth-driven disco for acoustic guitars. Despite this change in atmosphere, the band's strengths are still present.
Meandering opener "Clowns" contains all the lyrical obscurity you would expect from its title, with Alison Goldfrapp's murmured vocals complimented by gentle acoustic guitar strumming. "Happiness" contains the percussive 4/4 beat that has given Goldfrapp's songs their kick for years, but with its rough edges filed down. The band's emphasis on synths has been tempered, and Goldfrapp's coos resemble a singer-songwriter more than a disco diva.
Goldfrapp's signature iciness seems to have melted. While her vocals were just as audible on "Supernature," there is a vulnerability present that was missing from their previous albums. Few could have imagined this change in direction from a dance chart mainstay, and "Seventh Tree" may alienate some fans. But it is a bold move that establishes the group as skilled pop musicians, strobe lights or not.
MP3: Goldfrapp - A&E
MP3: Goldfrapp - A&E (Maps Remix)
Official Site: Goldfrapp