Title: Silver Eye
Release Date: 31st March 2017
Label: Mute Records
Formed in 1999, UK electronic duo GOLDFRAPP have pulled out all the stops on album number seven, to produce a set of songs drawing on all their previous work, creating possibly the world’s first ‘Best Of’ containing only new material. Restless and experimenting with any number of styles and sounds over the years, success has ranged from a Mercury Prize nomination for ‘Felt Mountain’, huge recognition in Europe and across the pond for the glam/ dance album ‘Supernature’ including a glut of number one singles, and more recently forays into folk, ambient and ethereal pop. Oh and a couple of Grammy nominations too.
On ‘Silver Eye’ the tone is very firmly set on opening tracks ‘Anymore’ and ‘Systemagic’, the breezy swagger, seductive vocals and throbbing synths rooting things firmly in any number of decades while sounding fresh, crisp and essentially now. There’s carefree late-night Disco and slowly revolving glitter-balls on the former, and squelchy, erotic synths underpinning an irresistible melody on the latter. It’s a solid, assured and intriguing start. ‘Tigerman’ slows things right down and returns to the more breathy, ethereal vocals of ‘Felt Mountain’ era. It’s gorgeously sung and hypnotically beautiful. Similar is the stunning centre-piece of ‘Faux Suede Drifter’, a real highlight here as it swoops and swirls gracefully towards its conclusion.
Changes in pace, a skittering beat and a busy urgency pushes the slow and measured opening of ‘Become The One’ into something altogether more complex and dynamic, and it works perfectly. ‘Zodiac Black’ expertly marries KATE BUSH fragility with a powerful backdrop of drone and echoing percussion. Simply stunning. It would be easy to falter after such an outlandishly good set of songs but there is no let-up in the quality of the song-writing or the breadth of inventiveness and disarming originality here. ‘Beast That Never Was’ is a wonderfully pretty song, ‘Everything Is Never Enough’ could have been written for MADONNA and ‘Moon In Your Mouth’ flutters about like a happily agitated butterfly listening to BERLIN. Which just leaves ‘Ocean’ to close ‘Silver Eye’. A hugely dramatic whoosh of emotion, loud and soft dynamics, cracked vocals that suddenly become angelic and vulnerable, all combine in what must be one of the best finales to any album of the last ten years. It’s an incredible end to what is a truly exceptional album.
It’s hard to imagine where GOLDFRAPP will go after this. It’s very nearly the perfect album after all. But the creativity that allowed such a thing to exist in the first place will surely find some new and equally exciting avenue to explore. There’s no way it ends here.
04. Become The One
05. Faux Suede Drifter
06. Zodiac Black
07. Beast That Never Was
08. Everything Is Never Enough
09. Moon In Your Mouth
Alison Goldfrapp – Vocals, Synths
Will Gregory – Synths
https://www.goldfrapp.com / https://www.facebook.com/Goldfrapp
Total: 9 / 10