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Sexually flavoured, but is it good taste? - Goldfrapp's weirdly pop Black Cherry

2006-03-29 18:15

The Dada-esque art motif adorning both Black Cherry's cover and Goldfrapp's - er... interesting website (it's totally wacky and very unusual, go check it out) should clue you in on this band's tack. Unfortunately that's all it does - clue you in with few final answers.

The language of Goldfrapp is electronic, as in 'throwback to the eighties' electronic. But the soundscape is more a collage than an exercise in holistic precision. Plenty of non-natural sound permeates the hybrid pop rhythms: analog bleeps and bloops stab at you in unexpected places; synth strings threaten to irritate modern rock 'purists'; and Alison Goldfrapp's voice meanders in and out of the mix like a gauche street actor tripped out on some expensive hallucinogenic.

The meaning of Goldfrapp is not quite as clear. The loosely connected logic of the lyrics and the groove-based structures suggest a free-form element to the creative process. But there is a wilful reinforcement of the band's sexually-flavoured themes (the interesting bits are too rough to publish here), as per their previous effort (Felt Mountain, 2000).

The more you listen to Black Cherry, the more tolerant you seem to become of it. So it's tough to single out standout tunes - especially from such an experimental set-piece. I'd have to say that the disco throwback "Strict Machine", the lush and playful ambience of "Hairy Trees", and the pop sensible "Forever" grab me most.

Black Cherry is still thorny listening, though, because it demands a persistent suspension of rationale. But it may just conceivably attract those who liked the equally challenging offerings of Air's 10,000hz Legend, and Beck's Midnight Vultures. Maybe.

Blooping 80s electronic music from the UK's answer to Air.


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