Goldfrapp - Head First

2010-04-12 13:34
Head First
Musically, Head First is an optimistic, euphoric swirl of decadently camp and playfully stylised pop hits. Listening to Alison Goldfrapp count down "Five, four, three, two, one… We have lift off," at the end of lead single "Rocket," is pretty ridiculous. But despite its sordid retro nature there’s an alluring, lovingly-made synthpop innocence to Head First that’s pretty intoxicating.

"Believer" starts with a bit of Heuwels Fantasties ring to it. "Alive" combines a full-blown ABBA trip down memory lane with modern background glitches and tight, 21st Century '80s production. The title track heads even further down ABBA Lane, this time with a glossy dab of Xanadu Olivia Newton-John, if you can believe it. The song actually reminds me of a montage from an '80s film that, irritatingly, I just can't put my finger on. It's on the tip of my tongue. Damn it.

Kicking its way through a spazzy, up-tempo groove, "Shiny and Warm" is an album standout. Before strikingly extraterrestrial ballad "Voicething," stripped down to Aliso's sultry, incoherent swoon and its super minimalist electronic accompaniments, ends the album like the ultimate come down. You can just picture white-robed virgins stretching their arms to the sky in dreamy slow motion.

They've been there before but Goldfrapp's switch to a complete album of gentle, ultra '80s, laser and shoulder pads pop will disappoint some fans. Still, even as an ‘80s revival, La Roux and Little Boots hater, there’s something irresistible about Goldfrapp's Head First. It's catchy but not particularly memorable or standout, just a fun, pleasant way to spend 38 minutes. Just like the '80s, it's indulgent, fun, over the top, somewhat ridiculous and over before you know it.

How '80s can you go before the Gods of good taste descend from that roller disco in the sky and slap some sense into you? The answer: this '80s. Listening to Goldfrapp's new album Head First, I picture beautiful women in leggings and shiny leotards throwing themselves around a dance studio for a panel of judges. Or a female welder, flash dancing her rage away with a fury of arousingly sensual routines.

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