Yes, the pastoral vibes of Seventh Tree were a temporary, if enjoyable hippie phase and Head First’s gratingly cheesy 1980s synthpop was a test in devotion. And if you thought those orchestral movements in the dark on 2013’s Tales of Us signified mid-career maturity, then think again. Ignore Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory’s PR soundbites claiming new album Silver Eye captures “the spontaneity of not knowing”; it’s really a well-calculated call back to those early century releases, an attempt to renew vows with long-standing devotees from those heady days of hit singles and Mercury Prize and Grammy nominations. GOLDFRAPP Silver Eye ★★★★ Mute
If you’re a Goldfrapp fan, you probably fell in love with them way back when, during the teasing mystique of debut Felt Mountain or through the electro-glam flirtation and seduction of Black Cherry and Supernature.
Thus Faux Suede Drifter is straight out of the Cocteau Twins songbook, complete with barely decipherable words, Zodiac Black sounds like Massive Attack’s Teardrop if Mica Levi got her mitts on it and the M83-esque Moon in Your Mouth is at once epic and intimate. Silver Eye delivers. Relationships need work, don’t they? The outside influence of producers John Congleton and the Haxan Cloak succeed in keeping Goldfrapp and Gregory focused on their strengths, where lyrics are secondary to textures and melody. You want sophisticated pop bangers counterbalanced by expansive, cinematic slow-burners? goldfrapp.com Tigerman is warm and multi-layered, Gregory’s vintage keyboards looming over Goldfrapp’s sultry voice. First single Anymore takes off on a wave of buzzing synths, air-punch beats and dreamy vocals. It’s the kind of electro-ballad Róisín Murphy might own if she wasn’t dragging pop down strange new paths. Goldfrapp know this and their seventh album flourishes with dazzling melodies, otherworldly oddness and impeccable production. An elegant achievement in upcycling old ideas via renewed creative juices means Silver Eye should reignite old flames and keep pop’s young pretenders on their toes.