Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Goldfrapp - A Rough Guide

"Goldfrapp is a British electronic music group known for their visual
theatrics and contribution to the popularization of electronic dance
music. The band was formed in 1999 in London, England, and consists of
Alison Goldfrapp (vocals/synthesizer) and Will Gregory (synthesizer)."

Also from that article:
"Although Goldfrapp's musical style has changed over time, they are
considered to be an electronic music band. Goldfrapp has explored a
range of musical styles in their songs, although many songs are
characterized by Alison Goldfrapp's distinctive breathy, soft vocals
and Will Gregory's multi-layered synthesizer and string arrangements.
The band's sound has progressed from an ambient sound in Felt Mountain,
through electronic music in Black Cherry to a more glam rock sound in
Supernature, and most recently to a blend of ambient, folk, and
electronic in Seventh Tree."

The band's official website:

The links in the guide below are to YouTube movies.  If the links
are blocked, you can view clips from the band's latest album on the
official site.  You can also listen to a selection of songs on the
band's MySpace page:

The "rough guide" ...

1. Utopia
This is (IMHO) the standout track on the band's debut album, "Felt
Mountain", released in 2000.  It showcases Alison's ethereal vocals,
over a lovely synth-drenched melody.  It's probably the most accessible
track on the very eclectic and rather experimental first album.

2. Pilots (On A Star)
Another single from "Felt Mountain".  Reminded me a bit of Portishead
when I first heard it, but I soon discovered that Goldfrapp has its
own distinctive sound.

3. Strict Machine
This is a visually stunning clip for a single from the band's second
album, "Black Cherry", released in 2003.  The song is an example of the
more up-tempo, "dancier" feel of most of that album.  Other singles had
even racier videos, and you can explore those ("Train" and "Twist")

4. Black Cherry
The title track from the second album.  This is a live version from the
"Wonderful Electric" DVD.

5. Fly Me Away
On the third album, "Supernature", the band had definitely settled into
a dance-oriented groove.  Released in 2005, the album was the band's
first million-seller.  It also garnered the band a couple of Grammy
nominations. This track is representative of the album.

6. A&E
The band's fourth and latest album was released earlier this year.
While I enjoyed "Supernature", I was hoping the band would return to
the more eclectic sounds of the first two albums.  My wishes were not
just met, but they were surpassed.  "Seventh Tree" is a virtuoso effort
showcasing the band's songwriting talents.  This, the first single,
heralds a refreshing change in direction for the band.

7. Little Bird
"Beatlesque" is an overused adjective, but I can't think of anything
better to describe this gorgeous tune.  If the Beatles had a female
singer and synthesizers, this song wouldn't be out of place on "Rubber
Soul" or "Revolver".

8. Eat Yourself
On this track, Alison croons barely-decipherable lyrics over acoustic
guitar and strings.

9. Clowns
Ambient folk?  I don't know how to best describe it, but this is the
haunting opening track from the latest album.

10. Happiness
The second single from the latest album, shows the band still has its
light-hearted side.

If I had to, here's how I'd rank the band's albums:
1. "Seventh Tree" (slightly ahead of:)
2. "Felt Mountain" (slightly ahead of:)
3. "Black Cherry"
4. "Supernature"