25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Cherry - An exciting change of pace!
(...) Black Cherry bears all the hallmarks of its predecessor. The haunting, ethereal beauty still lingers, despite the radical new direction that Alison Goldfrapp and her musical collaborator Will Gregory have taken. And what a direction!
A pounding, glam-rock-electro-funk-pop odyssey, it is catchy as hell, and with raunchier, sexier lyrics, is rather more tantalising...
Published on 8 July 2003 by Shady Ady
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a little bit scary
Black Cherry is a curious album which merges Alison Goldfrapp's distinctive, breathy vocal with harsh electronic music. Whooshing synth sounds whizz around like lasers conjuring up images of Dr. Who, and whilst this is impressive, it is not altogether nice - rather like a strange dream which enthralls and frightens.
There is loveliness, for example on the title...
Published on 6 May 2003 by abbaabba
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Cherry - An exciting change of pace!,
This review is from: Black Cherry (Audio CD)(...) Black Cherry bears all the hallmarks of its predecessor. The haunting, ethereal beauty still lingers, despite the radical new direction that Alison Goldfrapp and her musical collaborator Will Gregory have taken. And what a direction!
A pounding, glam-rock-electro-funk-pop odyssey, it is catchy as hell, and with raunchier, sexier lyrics, is rather more tantalising than fairy tale mysteriousness of Felt Mountain. Opening track Crystalline Green is a terrific introduction, pretty much setting out the stall for the remaining nine tracks - hefty bass lines, lovely retro synths (can't beat 'em!), not to mention that gorgeous voice....
And although first single 'Train' cranks things up a notch, the title track brings us back to Felt Mountain territory, and together with the likes of 'Deep Honey' and 'Hairy Trees (excellent song titles!), should appease those who find the upbeat sound a bit heavy going. Particular favourites would have to be the sexy, catchy 'Twist'(containing the choice lyrics "Put your dirty angel face/Between my legs and knicker lace"), second single 'Strict Machine', and the brilliant opener 'Cystalline Green'. The album tails off slightly with the last two tracks, but this does not lessen the overall effect of the album.
Black Cherry is a more energetic, exciting and vibrant album than Felt Mountain, but Goldfrapp have not compomised their unique sound merely to knock out something more mainstream. (...)
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nu-electro,
This review is from: Black Cherry (Audio CD)Goldfrapp emerged onto the music scene at the turn of the century with the debut album Felt Mountain. The excellent single Lovely Head got hijacked by mobile phone adverts and helped shift half a million units for Mute. Containing atmospheric John Barry inspired lo-fi songs, Felt Mountain became one of those coffee table albums filling a gap for those who mourned the passing of Portishead and The Sneaker Pimps. Personally, I could take or leave it and soon forgot about them.
Fans were expecting the follow-up to be a safe version 2.0 of Felt Mountain. You can imagine how shocked some are to find that Black Cherry is in fact an in-your-face electronic album with grinding analogue basslines, chattering synths and dominant beats. As the lead singer Alison said, ‘we went into the studio and turned on the machines’ and this welcome change in direction has thankfully provided a more varied album. Goldfrapp are no longer a band for 40-something dullards. This sleazy electro pop with suggestive lyrics (about the delights of oral sex on Twist) is aided by many weird sounds of invention. Analogue in nature with as many layers as the Human League’s 2001 Secrets album, Black Cherry is quite an achievement technically. This is the kind of album Madonna had tried to make with Music and American Life but she never quite pulled it off.
With no retro nods back to that era, all the tracks sound oddly modern. The first single released ‘Train’ was enough to win me over with its updated glam rock sound moulded into some very deep bass sounds. This track really owes more to the early 70s than anything released a decade later. The second single 'Strict Machine' (which deserves a rating of 9/10 on its own), has similar glam rock routes but with no guitars in sight. If 'Train' didn’t win you over, Strict Machine will blow you away. It is infectious and unforgettable and no pre-sets were used during the making of this record. Those not yet familiar would hace heard the pervy electro of Strict Machine many a time on TV trailers and adverts in recent months.
Although melodic throughout, this isn’t a conventional album in the classic pop sense. Crystalline Green’s title hints at how sharp this album sounds. You can hear every sound, crisp and clear as most electronic music should be. Fans of Felt Mountain shouldn’t be too despondent, there are still a few of those John Barry moments such as Deep Honey whilst Hairy Trees is very seductive like Saint Etienne at their peak.
Title track Black Cherry though is the real star of the pack. Warm analogue synths and beautiful string arrangements dominate this electro ballad with a vocal performance that simply gives you the shivers. It was seeing Goldfrapp perform this track live on BBC-2 that turned me into a committed fan and the album has rarely left the CD player. The final bonus is that Alison Goldfrapp has an enchanting voice and possibly one of the best female singers the UK has produced in quite a while.
Nu-electro for the cool kids
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You're strange and you're beautiful,
This review is from: Black Cherry (Audio CD)My first experience of Goldfrapp was hearing the mesmerising song 'Black Cherry' on a Hed Kandi Winter Chill album I bought last year. Haunted by the surrealistic quality of it and Allison's hypnotic vocals I advanced, ghost-like, to the record store and purchased this album. Scurrying straight home gripping tightly onto my prize, I hoped longingly that it would reveal many more hidden treasures like 'Black Cherry'... and I was not dissapointed. Listening to this album can only be compared to falling, Alice-like, down a rabbit hole and discovering a lush and twisted fairy tale at the bottom. This vibe is echoed by the albums sparkly fantabulous artwork, portraying Allison Goldfrapp as a pseudo-Red Riding Hood (complete with Dorothy Gayle ruby slippers) being both licked sensuously and ravaged brutally by wolves. I find this a marvelous visual encapsulation of the mood and sound of the album.
To actually describe the music is quite an enigma. The content is absoulutely diverse, all honey-dripped eroticism one minute (Black Cherry) and Rainbow-Brite 80's electronic synth pop the next (Tiptoe)- and all with a dash of fairydust thrown in. Lyrics such as:
* *Touch my garden rain clouds, mountains
sunshine all day long, sunrise, meadows
oceans, rainbows starlight all day long* *
and track names such as 'Crystalline Green', 'Deep Honey' and 'Hairy Trees' should prepare you for the lush, subversive and sometimes dark lyrical content of the songs. Use of electronic sound is manipulated beautifully along with the mesmeric quality of Allison's vocals to produce a complete stellar wave of uber-uber-uber deliciously cool music and sounds. Listen to it and envy the creativity!! I have booked tickets to see them live at Brixton Academy in Feb and I am simply trembling with anticipation of their highly theatrical live performance!!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An album that will grow and grow on you ...,
This review is from: Black Cherry (Audio CD)I bought this album on the strength of 'Strict Machine' and I am so glad that I did.
At first listen this is a quirky, uncomfortable and almost odd selection of tunes and sounds. But as I played it over and over again on my headphones (whilst laying on a beach in the Med) I fell in love with 'Black Cherry'and Goldfrapp.
The album kicks-off with 'Crystalline Green', and uplifting, dreamy and almost anthemic tune. I hate the catch-all term 'chill-out', but this tune will do precisely that - chill you out. However tune two, 'Train', is a slap round the face the pick you up, and make you listen; a chugging, charging and extremely addictive bit of electro-funk. The song 'Black Cherry' is a psychadelic soundscape, with Alison Goldfrapp's vocals sounding like a lullaby.
The biggest suprise for me was 'Tiptoe', a classy number, with strings and big raunchy power! To me it actually sounds like the best 'Bond' theme that was never made (Bond film makers take note please).
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Synthesized, glam, electro rock!,
This review is from: Black Cherry (Audio CD)Well I have to admit that I wasn't much impressed with their debut, 'Felt Mountain', all the praise it received was lost on me. Usually stuff that is nominated for the Mercury Prize receives a wide berth from me, and for that album it was no different story for me.
Then I saw them performing a couple of songs from this, their second album on Jools Holland's show, and I was gob smacked. What a transformation! Gone are the gently, lilting French torch songs and they are replaced by booming, teutonic, glam monsters, almost reminiscent of some of Roxy Music's earlier stuff. For me it's like a cross between Cabaret Voltaire, Giorgio Moroder and Roxy Music, no bad thing then!
Conversely though, fans of the first album may be none too pleased by this!
But for me, it's a super album, brimming with energy and tension. Present throughout are the humming, electro basslines and beats, which change from smooth, quiet passages to almost gnarling, vociferous booms of energy as they engulf some tracks in clouds of atmospheric wash and sound.
In the midst of all of this, stands Alison Goldfrapp, proving she and musical partner, Will Gregory, are no one trick ponies, and also showing they welcome change rather than churning out album after album of the same-sounding material. Sure, this may not please fans who prefer one album over the other, but at least it'll make sure for more interest and variety in the band's repertoire and as such the entertainment factor will increase.
Behind Alison's wonderful voice, is Will's constantly changing array of musical wizardry. This album is definitely aimed more at the mainstream, but it holds back from fully embracing it. Goldfrapp will always be too unpredictable and too interesting for the mainstream to fully comprehend.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wolflady sucks my brain!,
This review is from: Black Cherry (Audio CD)Felt mountain has been my favourite album for around two years now, and after hearing the new live tracks on their last tour, I was expecting more of the same from Black Cherry. The title track, deep honey and hairy trees do have the same lush strings and mountain range ambiance as felt mountain, but are actually the weakest tracks. What remains is stomping, glam-rock electronica, twisted vocals and big beats! The vocals are less weimar and more kylie-gone-bad! Twist is such a cool pop song- think one of the minogue sisters duetting with aphex twin and singing about oral sex. Stand out tracks are train, strict machine and tiptoe. The impossible has happened- felt mountain avalanched x
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely stunning beautiful magical has to be heard,
By A Customer
This review is from: Black Cherry (Audio CD)how can you describe goldfrapp? after their first, frankly rather strange album, we all wondered what their return would sound like. well, i hate to say it, but it sounds better. their first album was also stunning, crazy mad stunning, whips, horses, but above it all rose creativity. and in black cherry, we have positively oodles more of the stuff. let me describe this album. dirty, filthy, beautiful, manic, calming, wide, narrow, quiet, loud, new sounds, old sounds, contraversial? not really, great lyrics (even if you cant hear allison that well), but come on, this is the most stunning album of 2003 yet.
listen to tiptoe, hear it build with the strings, and you can feel your body relaxing, then the riff hits and its just amazing. the string fadout, its so damn good.
deep honey sounds most like as if its off felt mountain, but its still lovely. forboding, strange, but always elegant. intense stuff.
hairy trees, well, this is just dream music, with brilliantly simple lyrics, and allison's voice, melting away in the background like caramel.
twist, well, this is strange, its good, but not standout. dirty again like train, with a good chorus, but frankly, it didnt do it for me.
train, try listening to it without swaying, really getting into the filthiest of basslines that goldfrapp can pump out with venom.recall debbie harry, think punk rock synth early 80's, deft lyrics that build to a brilliant crescendo.
black cherry is just gorgeous. talk about a lyric - "all my world in one grain of sand and i've blown it. all the world in one grain of sand and you own it." its a love song, but this isn't lovvy dovvy love, this is raw, this is us, with the silly, but sexy little trmupet noises, and crisp beats. genius.
forever is another stunner. just buy this album, i cant explain it.
this stuff is also extremely crisp and fresh, razor sharp noises that once they get into your brain, will not get out. the only way to calm them is to listen again. i guarantee you, three listens and you will be hooked.
dont be fooled into thinking that this album is just another one riding on the wave of current electro pop. yes, this is electronic, but this one stands so far away from the crowd that you cant even see the crowd.
everybody should own this album. goldfrapp, we salute you, you have made a beautiful, unique, timeless album, that i know i will be listening to in many years to come. we likey.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Album of 2003?,
By A Customer
This review is from: Black Cherry (Audio CD)Goldfrapp's second album ups the ante with an electroclash-tinged masterpiece of sleazy disco-funk and soulful torch tunes. Alison & co bravely embellish upon the icy swoon of 1999's Felt Mountain with a braver, more upbeat and essentially more challenging record. The opener, 'Crystalline Green', sets the tempo with raw, swirling synths over pulsating r&b basslines in what could be described as a mutant hybrid of the Sugababes and German avant-rockers Can. The following track 'Train', and the first single from the album, is a disappointing glam stomper with synth riffs evoking a T-Rex style swagger which never quite convinces. 'Black Cherry' puts things back on course with some soulful balladry akin to Felt Mountain but replacing the scenic fantasy with a heavy drenching of distorted 80s keyboards. It is a torch song worthy of Hounds of Love-era Kate Bush, a feeling that is evoked similarly on the brilliant 'Deep Honey', which builds softly into a climax of chiming bass-synths and icy breaths. In between those two tracks though is 'Tiptoe', which returns to the raunchy disco-funk of the album's opener and manages to transcend sounding like Britney Spears by building into a mournful crescendo of keyboards and sweet sighs. 'Hairy Trees', alternatively, evokes Mezzanine-era Massive Attack, and is as good as anything the Bristol pioneers made with Liz Frasier or Nicolette on vocals. This is followed by 'Twist', which takes the electroclash theme to its literal extreme in what can only be described as orgasmic - violent synths and throbbing bass colliding over x-rated lyrics and sensual squeals. Things peter away a bit after this high-point, but the majority of this album is so innovative and memorable that it doesn't matter. Goldfrapp have taken a rare musical gamble with this album, which sacrifices none of the emotional power or vivid imagery of its brilliant predecessor.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous,
This review is from: Black Cherry (Audio CD)What a fantastic album.
Previously known as an electronic / chill out band, Goldfrapp return with an incredible new album, and a change of direction.
Still electronic, and still with incredible vocals, the music has some dirty, grindy beats, more dance than chill!
However, there are still some sumptuous chilled trax to keep fans of the old style happy.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What Sex Should Sound Like ...,
This review is from: Black Cherry (Audio CD)With "Black Cherry", Goldfrapp would take a critic-baiting chance in letting their work take them into another direction. Having already ensnared the indie-darling limelight with their half-million selling debut, "Felt Mountain", the pressure was on for Alison Goldfrapp and her trusted collaborator Will Gregory to come up with something that would continue to make the world swoon at Gregory's full-blooded orchestral arrangements and Goldfrapp's unsettlingly seductive vocals. And so, with true showmanship, Goldfrapp stumped their critics with an album completely polarised in style and content from its predecessor, replacing "Mountain's" melodious eeriness with a techno stomp that wears its sexiness on its sleeve and makes no apologies. Aside from a few welcome lapses into the Goldfrapp we knew before, the sexuality that had threatened to eclipse "Mountain" had been well and truly set loose.
The musical influences behind this LP should be spoken about to hint at an idea as to how disparate "Black Cherry" is to its creators' first effort. "Mountain's" soundscapes were clearly secured within the realms of film score and influence, Gregory even thanking Sergio Leone in the notes of the CD sleeve. Meanwhile, "Cherry's" influence, aside from the Kraftwerk-style synths and programming that pepper the music so indelibly, is clearly rooted in the late 1970s-early 1980s pop era, "Crystalline Green" and "Strict Machine" (their irreplaceable breakout hit) in particular sounding like they've been trapped in a time capsule for twenty years. However, the industrial techno leanings, exemplified best by "Train" and "Tiptoe", exhibit a futuristic knowingness, often coming across as darker versions of Richard X-produced pop fluff by Rachel Stevens, Liberty X and all the other ones you cannot remember. Even the slower numbers herald a poppier sound for the dance duo, the programming more overt and less subtle than on Mountain and often almost unlistenable (hear "Slippage", or not), hitting the right balance between conventional pop and that old fad, electroclash.
Their calling card could be "the natural successors to the Eurythmics" if Goldfrapp and Gregory weren't so fiercely sexual in their content. One has to commend Goldfrapp for making the first convincingly sexy 21st century pop album but, as fans of the first album will know, Goldfrapp's world is one that revolves around everything to do with sex. More upfront and glamorous than most of today's "plop"-stars put together, Goldfrapp's lyrics and voice have not sounded so rapt with pleasure and awe before or since, from the orgasmic screams of "Twist" to the pained warbling of the title track. Alongside the mechanised rhythm sections and Goldfrapp's unconventional vocal gymnastics, Gregory duly supplies the arrangements that served his muse and him so well first time around, standouts including the closing moments of "Black Cherry" and "Tiptoe". It sounds a million times more authentic than anything Madonna or Aguilera have insultingly thrown at us in the name of raunch and is offset by the album's mellower tracks beautifully, "Hairy Trees" and "Black Cherry" in particular.
However, if there are any problems with "Cherry", they are the very factors which limited their debut CD. If the listener can buy into the glamorous vacuum that Goldfrapp have created, then there is much to enjoy. And though the arrangements are often nothing short of spellbinding, if you are left cold or affronted by the shallow emotions plundered on this CD (fabulous, yes, but ultimately shallow), chances are best that you will not become a convert. However, one cannot deny Goldfrapp's sheer pop excellence on this album precisely because they are not hiding behind über-pop producers or former pop-stars-turned-songwriters, but are showing the world how degrading, dangerous, sexy and sublime pop music can be. It's testament to their craftsmanship that, even after Girls Aloud and Rachel Stevens near enough ripped them off over a year later, "Black Cherry" still holds up as one of the best pop CDs of the new century, and most certainly the sexiest.
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