FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 29, 2008|
Those pampered and primped for the glitter ball glam of Allison Goldfrapp’s last two discs (Black Cherry and Supernature) may very well arrive at her latest offering only to find the party slightly kicked. But for long-time followers of the English songstress, Seventh Tree (Mute) offers a distinct feeling that she and partner Will Gregory have come full circle. Cut from the same cloth as her 2000 debut Felt Mountain, Seventh Tree ditches Goldfrapp’s digital disco fame and eases back into the silky smooth compositions of her original solo work. But where Felt Mountain derives mood and mysticism from its’ minimalist approach, Seventh Tree throws its’ gaze in decidedly less exotic directions. The result is an album of much more classic origins.
From the first plucks of opener “Clowns”, there are obvious clues that the previous dance floor diva is a delinquent of the past. Singing “Only clowns would play with those balloons/What’d ya wanna look like Barbie for/Titties that live on on and on on and on”, Goldfrapp takes a cynical shot at one of the more artificial phenomenons of her previous flirtation with club culture. And while such lyrics may read a little ridiculous on paper, the warm acoustics and surging strings offer just the right kind of environment for Allison’s delicate, paper pressed voice to flourish.
Thus reveals what’s really to love about Seventh Tree. On one hand, Allison digs new roots with rich, organic lyrics like “It’s a blue bright blue Saturday hay hay/And the pain has started to slip away hay hay” (A&E), all while challenging the more manufactured kind of happiness (Check out the “My Moon, My Man”-esque romp, “Happiness”). On the other, Goldfrapp and Gregory stretch their sonic foliage for the heavens with cascading choruses, lush orchestral arrangements, hints of psychedelia, and Allison’s ever present, celestial vocals. In the end, Seventh Tree might be the most straightforward effort of Goldfrapp’s career, but that hardly makes it any less magical. – David Pitz