Goldfrapp: Tales of Us
“Jo” drones to open the new Goldfrapp album, Tales Of Us, with it’s slightly menacing electric/piano boiling in the background, a float-y, nearly unintelligible Alison Goldfrapp vocal pushed forward by a mandolin-like upfront “rattling.” Pretty, picked acoustic guitars from Will Gregory move the decidedly sad “Annabel” and “Drew” with this second tune, the best of the earlier of the ten songs here I feel, complete with singalong “la la la’s” and an almost western movie theme ending.
Lush strings and spacey synths with a low cello plucking and piano open “Alvar” and swirl into high strings and pretty much a full orchestrated tune seeing her rolling her vocals around. I like the gated guitars and “chh-chink” back beat that begin the true best mover here, “Thea.” A full production accomplishing the best of what the band is after with Tales, I believe.
“Simone” has a nice use of horns and Gregory alive again on perfectly plucked acoustics. He’s truly adept on “Stranger” (“strange” that this song is the only one not named after a person). Goldfrapp is very pretty-perfect here on another full string treatment that sounds like it could be played over the credits of a spaghetti western (it might be the whistling and the “ooh’s”).
I like Alison singing in her lower register over the simple piano of “Laurel” (I tend to toward Julie Cruise if I want that airy, pretty, warble voice) though I feel the strings distract in this instance. The last tune here, “Clay,” is masterful, again the full realization with percussion, low strings, wonderfully evocative lyrics and Gregory’s guitars.