While quietly releasing the mellow-sounding Seventh Tree back in 2008, electronica duo Goldfrapp gave way to the rise of breakout dance-pop starlets such as Lady Gaga and La Roux. What is lead singer Alison Goldfrapp’s response to this sudden outbreak of dance floor divas?
“I got a rocket / You’re going on it / You’re never coming back,” she commands on “Rocket,” the ’80s-tinged first single lifted from Goldfrapp’s latest set, Head First. “Rocket” pretty much sets the mood for the rest of the album, with its galactic theme running throughout the course of nine tracks that refer back to the high-energy dance music of the ’80s while adding a more modern electronic twist. Although the beats are in full throttle on the new set, the lyrical content turns out to be less than stellar for the UK-based twosome.
Standout track “Alive” finds Alison Goldfrapp cooing about feeling good in her tight jeans while enjoying the clear skies overhead. Though the lyrics mostly fall flat on this LP, Goldfrapp’s production on this track glows with the bouncy guitar riffs and dazzling synthesizers that compliment the singer’s icy vocals, creating a dreamy yet celestial listening experience. On the serene title track, Goldfrapp’s amazing production continues with mellow keyboards and gallant, colliding synths layered over her hypnotic yet soaring drone.
Dancefloor stomper “Dreaming” recalls the sexiness of the duo’s 2005 hit “Ooh La La,” as Alison rediscovers her sedative, breathy charm. Goldfrapp ends the album on an experimental note with innovative track “Voicething,” a song made up only of variant vocal sounds layered over each other, signaling a new, untouched direction for the rising electronic music scene.
Elsewhere, the album sounds too abstract to be called groundbreaking or catchy; instead, Goldfrapp delivers bizarre results that do not fit the bill of either realm. Though they’re usually acclaimed as musical trailblazers, Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory instead seem to echo their contemporaries on Head First, leaving the album’s title questionable because instead of entering unchartered waters, Goldfrapp dives straight into familiar territory that’s already been pillaged by the Gagas of the moment.