I am a big Goldfrapp fan. I first heard her years ago, Rodney Bingenheimer played “Strict Machine” and I was hooked. I bought all of her CDs, a collection of sexy, swanky electro-ambient pop. I was infatuated. I saw her in concert, where she gyrated against a mandolin and was backed up by strippers wearing horse heads, and I was in love. So a new Goldfrapp CD? I’m all over it.
As soon as I saw the cover of Seventh Tree I was a bit worried. Gone were the sky-high glitter stilettos, the Clockwork Orange-esque costumes, the mostly-naked Alison Goldfrapp covered with peacock feathers. Instead, Seventh Tree features a hazy image of Goldfrapp that looks better suited for a Carly Simon album. She looks like a slightly less cracked-up Olsen twin, and wears a Napoleon hat and poet blouse. Um, okay. A new look. I can dig. But I was disappointed that the music matched.
Seventh Tree is soft, subdued, peaceful. The opening track, “Clowns,” is all acoustic guitar, as is “Road to Somewhere.” The disc gets “plugged in” as the tracks progress, but the tracks are still floaty, dreamy, ambient. “Caravan Girl” is the closest track to “old skool” Goldfrapp that you will find. It has a quicker beat and a softly grinding synth on the chorus. But you still can’t dance to it.
Seventh Tree is not a bad album. It’s just not a Goldfrapp album. When I pick up an album with Goldfrapp’s name on it, I expect sexy, grinding beats beneath heavy-breathing vocals. This is a great Massive Attack album. Hell, many of these tracks would make a great Tori Amos album. But I had a hard time accepting this as the new Goldfrapp album. Please Alison. Ditch the extra layers of clothes, replace them with extra layers of makeup, and return to the scary-sexy-glam-techno of yesteralbum.