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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Goldfrapp
Supernature
Mute

Rating: 9/10 ?


March 9, 2006
The perfect meeting point between man and machine isn't C-3PO, nor is it Tron. It is Goldfrapp, the sexiest cyborg ever created and a proponent of some of this year's most highbrow pop music. Consisting of vocalist Alison Goldfrapp and multi-instrumentalist and former soundtrack composer Will Gregory, Goldfrapp have been building quite the reputation in their native United Kingdom with their mix of breathy electronica and breezy trip-hop. With Felt Mountain, heavily influenced by the likes of Add N to X and Orbital, they became proponents of a dramatic, epic style which was aided by Ms. Goldfrapp's quirky-yet-cinematic, glamorous appearance. They progressed with 2003's Black Cherry, which solidified their reputation as purveyors of ice-cool electronica. Supernature reveals the pure pop heart at the core of Goldfrapp which has been desperate to break free ever since the band first started making waves.

Many moments on Supernature sound like a Giorgio Moroder hit collection dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century. Alison Goldfrapp herself seems like a vampy disco siren in the mould of Donna Summer (who was always far cooler than Gloria Gaynor). "Oooh La La", the lead single off the album in both the UK and US, manages to easily straddle the twin beasts of the avant-garde and commercial acceptability, the oddest pop song you'll hear in a while. "Switch me on/ Turn me up", Goldfrapp moans in her dirtiest voice. The whole album is the manifesto for Goldfrapp's march into the pop arena, heralding the arrival of an intelligent consciousness to a pop world dominated by empty-headedness. Goldfrapp draws from moments in pop's glorious past, be it glam rock, the synthetic disco of the mid-70's or early 80's New Romanticism.

The glamorous and thoroughly kinky "Ride A White Horse" is an overt nod to Marc Bolan and T-Rex, both in title and song, and demonstrates the band's capability to turn to sources outside the usual electronica for inspiration. Indeed, it's a complete glam rock orgy, the mutant child of Gary Glitter and Kraftwerk doing lines of high-quality cocaine at Studio 54 with Andy Warhol taking pictures. And when she isn't busy sounding like the queen of glam, Goldfrapp shows that she can do quiet and haunting too, with the sublime "Let It Take You". Goldfrapp show that their cinematic roots, as evidenced on Felt Mountain, have not been forgotten either, with the dramatic movie-theme-in-waiting "Time Out From The World".

Slow-burner "Number 1" and the deliciously dirty "Slide In" possess more than a touch of Gary Numan, and both highlight Will Gregory's growth as a musician too. With a star as charismatic as his partner in crime, Gregory can easily be forgotten (as he would undoubtedly prefer, one assumes), yet his synth flourishes on this songs, and on other moments throughout Supernature, demonstrate his increasingly state-of-the-art mastery of his art, managing to make old styles (glam, electronica) sound young, fresh and new. Alison Goldfrapp's superb vocals deserve praise, as do her skills as a gifted lyricist, with more than a hint of melancholy bubbling under the disco sheen. On "U Never Know" the machine and the human dovetail brilliantly, as Goldfrapp's vocal seems to meld into Gregory's machines, creating a song of polish and finesse.

Goldfrapp seems to possess the charisma required to take her band into uncharted territory. Anyone who has witnessed their exquisite stage shows, in which she dances around the stage in animal outfits and plays around with a portable theremin, will recognize that this is a star in the making. An art-school misfit and a reclusive studio engineer should not, in theory, be hugely famous. But by sheer force of will and personality, you just know that Goldfrapp can be very big indeed, overtaking similar artists like Ladytron and Broadcast through personality alone. Ms. Goldfrapp is at the forefront of a recent batch of women in pop who use their brains instead of their buns for attention, alongside such luminaries Norwegian poppet Annie, Ana Matronic of Scissor Sisters and, most debatably, Gwen Stefani (though the jury is still out on that one). But it is, arguably, Goldfrapp who is the most interesting, most personally and musically.

As accomplished as Black Cherry was, Supernature completes the suspected evolution from the quasi-avant-garde stylings of old to intelligent, sophisticated pop music. It's pop, Jim, but not as we know it.

Reviewed by Ryan Thomas
A contributing writer from Washington state, Ryan Thomas recently relocated to the UK, where he continues to contribute to LAS.

See other reviews by Ryan Thomas

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