March 22, 2005

Review: In praise of Goldfrapp, wonderful electric



The Montreal Mirror says that the British duo Goldfrapp has a "carnivorous, libidinous vigour." Indeed. I have hinted at my fascination with this band for awhile. Their second CD Black Cherry is still growing on me almost two years after its release. This is the kind of music I play when I want to feel like someone I am not: someone super cool with a fucked up, mad dog kind of style. In fact, men should wear eyeliner when they listen to this music.

When The Scotsman asked Alison Goldfrapp what inspired her during production of Black Cherry, she said this: "I was doing a lot of f***ing. F***ing was what I was doing." It shows. You can read here what I wrote about the Devo meets Blondie-istic Strict Machine, AG's ode to her "wonderful electric" vibrator, while Twist offers this line: "Put your dirty angel face / between my legs and knicker lace."

But there's more to it - Tiptoe is the song I've been wanting Bjork to do since "Homogenic": James Bond meets Eno/Berlin techno meets...Bjork. The title track is so moving that I play it over and over on headphones at night. It's smooth and sweet as a cocktail, while two other songs tackle the subject of drug use in very different ways. Train is hardcore glitter-rock dance music with the Chateau Marmonth-ish lines, "LA nights just roll in/ Nasal douche, poolside line / softlit tan /what's your sign." It's a 70's Guy Bourdin photo in song. The delicate orchestral ballad Deep Honey is so gorgeous that you barely notice Alison is warbling, "Your white lies alway start with wide, white lines."

Black Cherry has the best CD packaging I have seen in years. The pics above and below were done by Polly Borland, a photographer most famous for her images of adult babies (Google her- they are so disturbing to me that I cannot even link them without feeling pervy). The Black Cherry imagery involves Little Red Riding Hood and her wolf (maybe a lover?), naked young men and women wrapped around Alison, voyeurs, plushies and a little bit of Oz. It's super kinky and super cool, just like the music. Read what Alison says about the imagery. I love this kind of shit and very few artists do it. Bjork always has really strong visuals that are a part of the story she is telling and Tori Amos used to do this to great effect, most infamously on the visuals for Boys For Pele, which were all so disturbing and seemed to be telling a fucked up story of their own.

To hear Black Cherry in full, go here and quickly fill in a name and email (it can be phoney)

As a wee bonus in this post, Goldfrapp's excellent fansite is offering a cool remix of the title track of Black Cherry. Meanwhile, Mojo reports on the progress of their upcoming album, which I believe will be released in 2005, one that I await with the same eagerness as Bjork or Madonna. As evidence of their travails, look at this cute pic of Alison in the studio.

If you are a fan of Bjork, Air, Portishead or even Kate Bush, you should seriously consider Goldfrapping it one night, alone in your house... in red high heels and lip gloss, with a martini in one hand and a Magic Wand in the other.

- XO xolondon

Slinky links:
Goldfrapp's wild official site (caution! titties and weenis here!)
Goldfrapp fan site
Fansite audio player to hear some remixes (click on Audios at the top)

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