Sunday, July 25, 2010
HEAD FIRST (Goldfrapp)
5. Head First
7. Shiny And Warm
8. I Wanna Life
The fifth studio album from Goldfrapp, the English electronic duo of Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory, sees them venture firmly into the world of 80s synth pop. What's worked with the 80s pop revival for the likes of Delphic, Chew Lips and La Roux lies firmly in the fact that they've made it their own. Whilst their work is distinctly eighties in feel and sound there is an element that clearly identifies it as modern and of far more substance than the majority of the eighties synth pop, which lay firmly in the initial world of electronic discovery. Melodically, lyrically and vocally each of the aforementioned acts have brought something new to the table, which has meant their contributions to this 80s revival have been noteworthy. For Goldfrapp, the act one might expect to make a better fist of this foray, very little works as Head First amounts to a whole that seems lacklustre comparative to their other work. Head First sounds merely eighties rather than inspired by it and ultimately sounds like a bunch of original covers.
The first single, 'Rocket', is typical of Head First. With the recognisable breathy vocals of Goldfrapp and the eighties beat and distinct synth sound there is a general lack of meatiness amidst the track's 3:53 runtime. It's a whispiness that plagues the whole album, which sounds surprising considering that in fact it was what made their previous album, Seventh Tree, a triumph. Here it merely sounds gutless.
That ethereal quality to Seventh Tree did in fact evoke a quite angelic feel to what was going on but here it leaves the listener wanting more than what is delivered. Lyrically, Track 2 'Believer' sums it up best, "A cupid on the go, no arrow and no bow."
There are enough bits of interest to stop Head First from being a complete waste of time, particularly in the likes of the referential 'Dreaming', which harks to the seventies and eighties hey day of Fleetwood Mac and the Björk-ish sounding 'Voicething', but they're few and far between. Head First is but a blip on the music canon of Goldfrapp and a murmur in the discussion of music in 2010.