Remember when Goldfrapp released exciting electronic music: music that fizzed and bubbled; music of Strict Machines, Black Cherries and Rockets; music that was sexy and…fun?
Well the band originally began with a more ethereal, fantastical sound on their 2000 debut 'Felt Mountain', a sound they returned to with the release of ‘Seventh Tree’ in 2008, which resulted in the sublime single A&E. 2010’s ‘Head First’ saw a brief return to electro-pop, but following last year’s release of ‘The Singles’, Goldfrapp are determined to head further into acoustic territory. Perhaps as the band mature they wish to be taken more seriously, but in the process they’ve lost what made them so exciting.
‘Tales Of Us’ is sort of beautiful in its own way, often evoking wintery English landscapes. Guitars are gently plucked, strings shiver in the background and Alison Goldfrapp’s soft, ghostly vocals haunt as ever (though they often feel a little blank and emotionally detached). At its best it revels in a folky simplicity, whilst the warped sound of Thea retains the electro of the band's previous material and the sweeping orchestration of Stranger has a retro, almost James Bond feel. For the most part, though, 'Tales Of Us' is whispy and ethereal with little depth, lacking the memorable melodies and hooks of the band's best work. It chugs along nicely enough in the background, but nice just isn't good enough.
And as each track is named after a specific person, it makes you wonder who these people are to inspire such boring music.
Listen: 'Tales Of Us' is available now.