Uneven effort from electro-pop star
Goldfrapp’s seventh studio album Silver Eye kicks off promisingly with two dancefloor-friendly stompers, in the form of first single ‘Anymore’ and ‘Systemagic’. Both tracks feature Alison Goldfrapp’s austere siren-song gliding serenely over fat juicy slabs of square-wave bass.
The momentum doesn’t last, as subsequent tracks provide less sustenance beyond a sleek pulsing impassivity. They might sound good cranked to the max in a dark club, but listening at home I find myself drifting off. Songs float past like woodsmoke, leaving little impression other than a vague languid torpor.
Despite Goldfrapp’s much-vaunted propensity for change and innovation, this album feels like a stocktaking exercise. They have returned to the familiar sonic territory of former glories – pitched somewhere between the hedonistic Black Cherry and its follow-up Supernature. The occasional spark, as on the intriguingly titled ‘Tigerman’ (isn’t that one of He-man’s sidekicks?) or torch-song ‘Faux Suede Drifter’, start to smoulder but fail to ignite convincingly.
The hit or miss effect – consistently inconsistent or inconsistently consistent, I can’t quite decide – is neatly underscored at the very end by ‘Ocean’, a dark and roiling epic barnstormer. “I’ve lost my will to, I’ve lost my way”, Alison laments. The storm clouds have started to gather, but while there are just enough unsettling undercurrents to keep things interesting, overall the sensation is of treading water. Thus endeth the metaphor.
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