Goldfrapp

Seventh Tree
(Mute U.S.)

If Supernature was Goldfrapp's ode to stylish disco saturnalia, Seventh Tree is the elegy for the inevitable "Suicide Tuesdays": when clubbers ache to dispel that raisin-y, dried-out feeling and the Roland TB-303 drum beats still pounding in their heads. Once galvanized by the opiated synergy that exists between beats and body, Goldfrapp has cropped Supernature's driving rhythm sections and plump synthesizers, leaving the focus on ambiance and intimacy. Tracks like "Clowns" and "Eat Yourself" rely on deep-space instrumentation, acoustic guitar melodies, and string passages as fluffy pink as one of Alison Goldfrapp's feather boas. As for Alison, her vocals land somewhere between the fainéant laments of Portishead's Beth Gibbons and the pastoral balladry of Fairport Convention's Sandy Denny. In "Some People," she finally acknowledges the dance floor postmortem previously hinted at: "But when it fades/When the glitter's gone." Composer Will Gregory is no longer accelerating pulses, but slowing down metabolic rates, ever aware of the pratfalls of such transitions, and overdoing the quietism to the point of inertia. Hear "Little Bird," with its Cocteau Twins-like sugar hiccups, and "Cologne Cerrone Houdini," as synthetically breezy as Air's best efforts. Ultimately, Seventh Tree is an artist recognizing that sound isn't just a physical catalyst — it can also soothe and accompany you.

 
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