Goldfrapp - Supernature

Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory are the ultimate odd couple. Will who provides the musical backing (the master of the synths) is so shy and reclusive that he doesn't even perform live and rarely permits to be interviewed. He's happy to let Alison, the ultimate ice maiden to dominate proceedings. She's a unique front woman, overtly sexual but not in an obvious way. There's an air of mystery to Miss Goldfrapp which makes this intriguing woman such an enigma.

"Supernature" is the follow up to their critically acclaimed "Black Cherry" and to say it's eagerly anticipated is a massive understatement. Upon hearing their comeback single "Ooh La La" I was initially disappointed. It sounded throwaway and too similar to their own track "Strict Machine" so I approached this album with a certain amount of trepidation. To be honest it does have it's moments, but is no match for their first two superb albums.

"Ride A White Horse" has a husky vocal from Alison who purrs with delight as she delivers lines like "Oh I love this feeling, feels like red leather" to the disco flavoured electronica, just the right side of sleazy. It's catchy and commercial, but a little too safe for Goldfrapp. Rather than experiment it seems they're happy to adhere to a winning formula. Still, who can't love a track which has a delicious homage to Donna Summer towards the end.

"Let It Take You" revisits the sedate, lush atmosphere of "Felt Mountain". This is a torch song, sensually performed. Strings are used to emphasize the cinematic sense of scope and ambition. The synths are used very sparingly with piano lending Alison's Billie Holiday type vocal sophistication.

"Satin Chic" has Alison taking on the mantle of Debbie Harry with astonishing results. This has a freshness about it. The quirky music hall piano, glam rock guitars and a 'na na na na' chorus Kylie would donate her hot pants to emulate. It sounds slightly like Erasure's "The Circus", but Goldfrapp style. The squelchy synths and poppy mood screams out to be a single. "Number 1" is funky, direct with an amazing bass line. The backing track could almost be OMD, but lyrics like "I'm like a dog to get you" make you realize that its no fluffy, nonsensical, frothy song with light hearted ideologies.

"Supernature" is an enjoyable album with some well arranged and exquisitely produced songs, but it's inevitably a difficult third album as there's nothing here as memorable as "Utopia" or "Twist". Well worth a listen, but compared to their previous work is still ever so slightly disappointing

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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