Right now in time, Goldfrapp are probably best known for their most recent album Supernature
, which includes such hits as Ooh La La, Number 1,
and Fly Me Away.
A lot of people don't know them beyond this dancey handful (and probably Strict Machine
, off Black Cherry
, as well.) While this is all fine in dandy in their heads, it is not in the bigger picture. Goldfrapp have abandoned their roots. By roots, I am talking about their debut album, Felt Mountain.
This album has been out since 2000, and now there's finally going to be a review for it!
I think I'll do a track by track, since there's only nine.
1) Lovely Head
Lovely Head begins with, incidentally, some lovely whistling. When you see live recordings, you realize that it IS Allison Goldfrapp doing this complicatedly clean tune. This occurs A LOT throughout the album. There are many instances where you will hear strange vocals that you think are either not human-made, or extremely morphed. The latter would be correct. They do it live too. They distort, alter, and change her vocals a lot and it makes for a more interesting listen. OH YES! the song. Lovely Head is a very good song, with some wailing, soaring choral effects. Ending with the tragically horrifying line, "Frankenstein will want your mind," this is a winner. GRADE: 4.5
2) Paper Bag
By the first second of this song, you'll notice it doesn't sound terribly different from the proceeding track. Eventually, you'll realize this with each song. Differentiation is minimal on this record, but it's so beautiful, you shouldn't mind. Paper Bag has a harpsichord-like intro and some seductive vocals ("No time to *** / But you like the rush.") However, I do think it is one of the most ordinary songs on the cd. GRADE: 4
Entering with strings, as a lot of these do, and some pulsating synth, this is one of my favorite tracks. It sounds hollow at the start, as you'd expect. Then air drumming comes in. The chorus has some great vibes to it, with some horn noises and some rattling. "Are you human" Or a dud"" This is great, and it's just enough to keep you interested. And, have you ever heard a sexier voice" GRADE: 5
This was a troublesome one for me. I did not enjoy it much at first, I thought it was cliche (ironically, considering the alien quality of this band.) But once again, it is saved by Alison's beautiful vocals. Seductive, and like one big, bittersweet cigarette drag. But it's more enjoyable. It contains the best chorus of the album, "We're pilots watching starts / The world preoccupied / We're pilots watching stars / Who do we think we are"" By now, I've come to the conclusion that they make alien music. They pretty much are aliens, in texture, music, feel, and writing. No more than the next song. GRADE: 4
5) Deer Stop
By far, the most imaginative, compelling, and freaky track on this tapestry. (This is the only song I like more than Human.) Deer Stop has wavy synth/piano instrumental with strings. Alison's voice are almost entirely altered. They're placed on a wavy line, in an out of the shadows. Most of it is just above a whisper, and it's almost completely incomprehensible. The lyric booklet contains far less than the actual song, which can be troublesome. After a brief instrumental, she comes back at 2:21 with "Say my name / Whisper it," and then it's weird again. We can hear "I'm deliciously wired / Falling from a cloud,"and then her vocals become high and childlike, before wailing in an underwater distortion. It's truly beautiful, and alien, and you don't mind not understanding it. It's better this way. GRADE: 5
6) Felt Mountain
Not much to say about the title track. It's instrumental. It has a beautiful do-doo-ing refrain from Alison, and some chilled, icy instrumental, with fierce clapping and metronome-like tapping. You feel enraptured, and cocooned by this gorgeous number. GRADE: 4.5
7) Oompa Radar
The most bizarrely titled track on the album. (Yes, beating out Deer Stop.) It's also instrumental, and is really carnival-esque. With a constantly pulsing synth instrumental, and gorgeous horns, and almost-humorous melody. You can almost picture the little orange men doing one of their dances to it. My only problem is that it fades away near the end for about 10 seconds, after sounding broken, and then rumbles back in. While it sounds cool to have it surprise you, it is stopped long enough for it to be a new track. You almost want to check and see if it's the same song. GRADE: 4
Utopia is widely the most loved song on this record, and it is far from mine. It is a pretty song, with some good, oddball lyrics ("I'm superbrain / That's how they made me,") and some wondrous operatic high notes by Alison in the background. This song is undoubtedly enchanting, but it does not seem to fit here. It's similar to Black Cherry's
, and it may have worked better there, as it does not seem consistent with the rest of its neighbors, considering it has a beat. A real beat. But, it's good in its own right. GRADE: 4
9) Horse Tears
Horse Tears is another beautiful song. It has some harpsichord synth, and some piano. This is the only real piano-driven number. Chime like vocals in the chorus and she chants "La la la la la la," over the beautiful, hollow soundscape. This is the longest track, and deservingly so. This is the best one to listen to on headphones, especially when the waving alien sounds kick in around the 4 minute mark. GRADE: 5
Now, this review probably seemed repetitive, but thats cause the album, like I said earlier, doesn't have a lot of differentiation through out. I probably shouldn't have done a track by track, but otherwise, it would have been way too short. All i can say is: this is a gorgeous album. More monochromatic than their other albums.
They seem to have abandoned this sound, and it's too bad. It's their best record by far. While Black Cherry and Supernature are good, it's not the same Goldfrapp that is harnassed here. It is unlike anyone else, and like I said, very alien. Beautifully alien.
Listen to this on headphone and lay down with your eyes closed. It's one of the most relaxing, compelling, enrapturing, transcendent, and extremely spellbinding musical experiences you'll ever have.
human, deer stop, horse tears