Goldfrapp
Seventh Tree


4.0
excellent

Review

by Nick Butler EMERITUS
February 13th, 2008 | 22 replies | 12,236 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: They've gone acoustic, and made their best album yet.

It seems bizarre considering that Seventh Tree is only their fourth album, but Goldfrapp's career has already circled upon itself twice. Where the lush, Portishead-without-beats Felt Mountain saw the band on the cusp of stardom at a time when British music didn't really know what the hell it was doing, the defiant electroclash of Black Cherry seemed like little less than a blatant attempt to sabotage their careers, annoy their fans, and remain a decidedly cult act. From there, they've simply repeated the cycle - the glam pop of Supernature gave them more hits, and now anybody turned onto the band by their gleefully vapid aping of T-Rex is going to have Seventh Tree to contend with.

For someone who started her career on Tricky's Maxinquaye, we probably shouldn't expect anything less from Alison Goldfrapp, a woman who may never get enough credit for the way she refuses to be pinned down to any one ideal. Will Gregory deserves more credit, too, simply for keeping up with her and acquitting himself to all the band's previous albums with such alacrity. They're an unwieldy pair, yes, but more than that they're confusing and intriguing, not least for the fact that I've just used the word 'unwieldy' to describe an album as easy going, pretty, and inviting as Seventh Tree. This album will undoubtedly be a magnet for journalistic buzzwords like 'pastoral', 'personal', 'intimate', and 'lush'. It's got acoustic guitar! There's no electro any more! You can play along with these songs at home! And so on.

It'd probably be a disservice to both the genre and this album to describe Seventh Tree as a folk record, yet that's roughly the territory in which we're operating. While there certainly are electronic flourishes still - see the carefully produced highlight "A&E", the static that underpins the brilliant "Eat Yourself", and "Little Bird" - they feel like a secondary concern, because the atmosphere is designed to feel so close, so down-home. Even on the tracks where the acoustic guitars aren't at the forefront, they're still a crucial part of the lasting impression these songs leave. So are the occasional flutes, and the chamber strings. From a woman who only two years ago was promoting her album by simulating masturbation with a theremin, it's a complete revelation. Each song here is beautiful, tender, and home to hidden depths you'd have never imagined could exist in a Goldfrapp song. Air's Moon Safari and Zero 7's When It Falls are both frequently called to mind, yet this is better than both. Unlike Air, it transcends any chillout genre, and unlike Zero 7, the switch to acoustics is entirely convincing.

I wouldn't go as far as to say that this is an early contender for album of the year, but it's certainly a contender for the most welcome surprise. From the first minute till the last, this is enthralling, invigorating stuff, and because of that it's comfortably the duo's best album yet. Who knew that they'd find their true calling here?



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user ratings (98)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Eliminator
February 13th 2008



2067 Comments


When I heard about them going acoustic or whatever I was like "Oh this might be cool".
It isn't.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
February 13th 2008



3752 Comments


Ooooh, I didn't even have any idea there was going to be some Goldfrapp out. Good Review, will be checking this out soon.

Digging: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Days Of Abandon

Iai
Emeritus
February 13th 2008



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I'm deeply shocked that Eliminator doesn't like this.

Really. Honestly shocked.

Eliminator
February 13th 2008



2067 Comments


Seriously.

TheStarclassicTreatment
February 13th 2008



2909 Comments


Don't really like much Goldfrapp but tbf the new single is very intriguing.

AggravatedYeti
February 13th 2008



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

their other albums were pretty good, a bit of all the same, but this sounds very promising.

plane
Staff Reviewer
February 13th 2008



6073 Comments


oh tight

duckies
February 13th 2008



143 Comments


I'm defininitely going to try this out. You sold me when you said that it's better than Moon Safari, because I love that album.

DWittisarockstar
February 13th 2008



1501 Comments


The cover looks a lot like an Olsen twin IMO. That's all I can contribute.

Eliminator
February 13th 2008



2067 Comments


yeah thats the only good thing about this album

DWittisarockstar
February 13th 2008



1501 Comments


This review seems like it would be a 4.5. Oh, and...

[quote=nickbutler]From a woman who only two years ago was promoting her album by simulating masturbation with a theremin[/quote]
What?

Great review though. I would vote but you're staff...

Iai
Emeritus
February 14th 2008



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

When Supernature came out that theremin masturbation thing was part of their live set. Pictures of her doing it ended up in loads of magazines.

DWittisarockstar
February 14th 2008



1501 Comments


Oh. Cool. Sounds like something I could get in to.

smokersdieyounger
February 14th 2008



672 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Goldfrapp was singing for Orbital before and Tricky, she pops on the excellent 'Snivilisation' album.

I'll be getting this soon

Iai
Emeritus
February 14th 2008



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Ah, so she was. My sources lied to me. My bad.

MediocreAtBest
February 14th 2008



1473 Comments


This sounds good.

hegster90
February 14th 2008



96 Comments


isn't this the band that covered "Spirit in the Sky" changed the words, and made a single out of it?

Iai
Emeritus
February 14th 2008



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Pretty much. Hence the 'gleefully vapid' dig in the first paragraph.

Geedrummer
February 15th 2008



607 Comments


ive had this for ages , but i think its not the final mix. its ok

AggravatedYeti
February 25th 2008



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Just checked the stream...it's pretty fucking tight. A lot more interesting than their last release, I think it's a step in the right direction. Even though their sex charged disco pop was pretty sweet, this has a lot more replay in it. Def gonna pick it up.



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