tue 23/07/2024

CD: Goldfrapp - Tales of Us | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Goldfrapp - Tales of Us

CD: Goldfrapp - Tales of Us

Goodbye glam, hello autumn on cinematic sixth album

'Tales of Us': dark and mystical

The glam pop duo’s new album heralds a striking change of direction away from their trademark stadium disco towards a more intimate, cinematic sound. A seductive collection of character studies inspired by film noir, books and song lyrics, this 10-track album is heavy on atmosphere and light on sequins. Exquisitely woven together, it’s inspired by the like of French crooner Jacques Brel, Bon Iver and Leonard Cohen.

On this their sixth album, Goldfrapp appear mellow and restrained, leaving the world of glossy pop and BDSM-inspired costumes firmly behind.

It’s a marked contrast to their last offering, 2010’s Head First, which was an overtly commercial collection of electropop which paled in comparison with the innovative efforts of newcomers Gaga, Little Boots and co. Alison Goldfrapp has since declared her dissatisfaction with the album, blaming its direction on hit-hungry label bosses at the now defunct EMI. In a recent interview with the Irish Independent she said: "It was incredibly rushed. We were on the last leg of our contract. A hit wasn't on our minds. It was on theirs. Sometimes labels have expectations that you don't necessarily understand or maybe don't want to fulfil.”

Dominated by acoustic guitars, sparse strings and breathy vocals, with each track a poetic portrait of a fictional character, Tales of Us conjures a wistful pastoral mood. Only one track, “Thea”, references their electropop past, while the rest are shadowy ballads such as “Clay”, which tells the tragic tale of a doomed wartime romance between two gay soldiers, and the Kate Bush-inspired story of “Simone” who finds her daughter in bed with her own lover. It’s a world away from the playful pop of their defining hit “Ooh La La”, and while it’s a pleasure to hear Alison Goldfrapp sounding so relaxed and expressive, the dark mysticism of it all can be slightly overwhelming. The release date is perfectly timed, as these songs are the perfect soundtrack to red wine-fuelled autumn evenings. Summer is definitely over.

These songs are the perfect soundtrack to red wine-fuelled autumn evenings. Summer is definitely over


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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Jacques Brel was Belgian, please do your research correctly. And in my opinion he wasn't a crooner in the likes of Frank Sinatra or Bing Crosby but in important singer-songwriter for francophone music.

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