Waxing and waning on Goldfrapp's discography

Dr Sally Marlow on the duo's latest album.

Goldfrapp have reinvented themselves with each album, and Silver Eye, named after the moon, brings those incarnations together. The first electro beats take us back to the reassuringly familiar synth pop territory of  works such as Supernature; and when the distinctive voice of Alison Goldfrapp layers over the top, we are reminded that she falls into that small but distinguished category of female vocalists whose voice is instantly recognisable: at the same time both unreal and totally authentic.  

For me part of the beauty of the duo is that their songs have always stood on their own, without analysis or explanation, but if you delve deeper there are often unexpected messages. I was transfixed from first hearing by ‘Lovely Head’ (from the album Felt Mountain), which I later discovered was about oral sex. That track was the defining music of several films including My Summer of Love, a 2004 Pawlikowski film about the complicated and destructive relationship between two teenage girls. In their latest offering, ‘Become the one you know you are’ may seem like an everyman sort of song, but was inspired by a documentary about transgender children.

A defining feature of previous albums has been a combination of imagery of nature with vast washes of sound, and here ‘Moon in your Mouth’ and ‘Ocean’ do this in spades. This is a solid pop album, in which Goldfrapp’s identity feels like it is consolidating. There isn’t much here that’s new, but if you’ve followed Goldfrapp’s reinventions over the years, there will be much here for you.

- Reviewed by Dr Sally Marlow, Associate Editor for Culture

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