3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Hauntingly Beautiful, 17 Sept. 2013
The more I play this album, the more I hear something new every time. Both simplistic and complex; elements of 'Felt Mountain' & 'Seventh Tree' draw me closer with every listen. Ten tracks, or tales, each named after a character (real & fictional) in Alison's world. Her stories take you to different places as the album plays on; the mood dividing; making you feel rather sombre yet uplifted at the same time.
The demented waltz-like serenity on 'Jo' is captivating and the glissando in her voice during 'Simone' emphasises the mood, shock and possible anger behind the story. 'Drew', a song about past experiences, is enjoyed through fond memories; accompanied by a stunning video mirroring times gone by.
The powerful and emotional vocal on stand-out track 'Clay'; the woeful yet hopeful lyrics; boasts the celebration of something so beautifully tragic. The use of irony in her voice and chosen words blends with the disdain and the hope for something that never was. The crescendo in the strings; a sudden and dramatic finish, almost as if a door to an unlikely next chapter is being left open in the story.
You almost feel as if you are listening to something recorded over a century ago on a gramophone, especially with 'Laurel' where we are treated to a vocal from her lower register. The line 'I want to swim your silk black skin to the floor' from 'Alvar' is one of many of Alison's finest lyrics on this record.
The ghost-like whistling phrases that answer Alison's soft voice on 'Stranger' make the piece what it is; mysteriously enchanting. The anonymity of the subject really sets it apart from the rest of the album.
For me, this is Goldfrapp at their best; a welcome return to Will's orchestral arrangements of Seventh Tree; Alison's captivating vocals of 'Felt Mountain' and lyrics that are reminiscent of one of my all time favourite albums; 'Black Cherry'.