Album Reviews, Dance / Electro — September 11, 2013 at 10:15 am

REVIEW: Goldfrapp – Tales Of Us



Artist Name: Goldfrapp
Title Name: Tales Of Us
Label: Mute
Reviewed by: Christopher Cheah


Goldfrapp is an electronic duo from London, England comprising of songwriter, keyboardist and producer Will Gregory, and singer-songwriter and producer Alison Goldfrapp. Their musical styles have been chameleonic over the years with their five albums, to the liking of some but to the disapproval of others. Leaving behind their “Ooh La La” days for a mellower mature side with great depth, Goldfrapp’s sixth studio album, Tales Of Us, uses minimal but rich sounds and instrumentation to support their simple but telling lyrics. Tales Of Us is probably the most distinctively different album compared to its predecessors: intimate, narrative and cinematic. Almost all the songs in the album are ideally titled and named after a characters Alison has created through her lyrics.

Featuring ten tracks (or ten stories if you would), the album starts off with “Jo”, a hauntingly minimal track that paves the way for the whole general vibe. The pre-released singles, “Annabel” and “Drew” follow. Listed back to back, they will certainly evoke souvenirs to Goldfrapp’s faithful fans. Just when you were beginning to think this album would only be drowned in sadness and dark themes, “Ulla” puts a hopeful change in place with outstanding vocal harmonies that move the gloomy undertones away. Halfway through the album, “Alvar” is one of those songs that slowly build an intense atmosphere. The musical peak of the album, “Thea” brings back to Goldfrapp’s earlier EDM days. Blending together pulsating beats, electronic samples and multiple layers of swells and tremolos, this track is the most striking and textured track of the album. “Simone”, “Stranger” and “Laurel” take all emotions back to the moody minimal soundscape, with nostalgia and heartache comprised. Last and definitely not least, “Clay” ends the album’s odyssey with a feeling of resolution, letting the listener envision that greater things are yet to come.

Alison’s vocals and lyrics really shine all along Tales Of Us proving she’s capable of singing more than plain and repetitive pop melodies. Each song truly takes the listener on a journey and the tracklisting could not have been placed in any better way. Minimal but musical – Tales of Us continues to showcase Goldfrapp’s raw talents. And despite the fact that people might perceive it as too mellow or pessimistic, Alison simply puts their shift of musical style as going with “whatever feels right at that moment.” And we all do have our ‘moments’.