Music Review: Goldfrapp “Seventh Tree” (Mute) * * * 1/2
Allison Goldfrapp spent the last half-decade establishing herself as Britain’s preeminent electro-dance diva — she so thoroughly inspired Madonna’s recent dance music that the English music press started calling Madge “Oldfrapp.” But a great number of original Goldfrapp fans have hungered for a return trip to “Felt Mountain,” her gorgeous 2000 debut that channeled John Barry soundtracks and emphasized down-tempo languor. Goldfrapp’s excellent new collection, “Seventh Tree,” returns to a more contemplative pace, but the sound tends toward sunny electro-folk rather than grand cinematic sweep.
Goldfrapp and chief musical strategist Will Gregory haven’t exactly made a Fairport Convention record, but the duo softened the machines and forced them to co-exist with organic instruments. The gorgeously contemplative “Some People” is almost entirely acoustic: piano and cellos with just a hint of synthesized strings wafting behind the mix. “Cologne Cerrone Houdini” features the kind of thunderstorm strings Paul Buckmaster arranged for Elton John’s “Madman Across the Water,” offering the perfect dramatic wrap for Goldfrapp’s golden vocal tones.
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