Goldfrapp

Seventh Tree (Mute)

The last track ("Monster Love") of Goldfrapp's fourth full-length claims, "Everything comes around/Bringing us back again," and it's so very true for Allison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory of Goldfrapp. On Seventh Tree, the pair transitions from TV-commercial mavens back to the lush soundscape/soundtrack composers they were on Felt Mountain—but with a new vigor. Sure, Seventh Tree is more mood and less shake of the ass, but the groove is still there and the energy is palpable even if it's deftly kept just from boiling over. Allison Goldfrapp channels Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins) and Kate Bush on tracks such as "Little Bird" and "Eat Yourself" but the result isn't Xerox; it's equal parts homage, reinvention and vocal study. "A&E" finds her unadulterated voice absolutely heartbreaking in effect—her natural skill easily makes up for the offense of a slightly Erasure (Chorus-era) backing at times. Summer single potential and (all right, it must be said) probable commercial use can be found in both the Beatles-y whimsical bop of "Happiness" and the hooky pop/electro-rock of "Caravan Girl." Overall, Seventh Tree enjoys beautiful folk harmonies, ethereal effects and a mesmerizing use of unconventional instrumentation. The album begs to be played repeatedly, with each spin finding a new gem or detail to obsess over.

 
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