The upcoming album Tales of Us from the hugely successful electronic duo Goldfrapp is something you might not expect, particularly if most of your experience with the band lies with some of their chart-topping hits.
Tales of Us is a gorgeous album of soft ambient songs, but it’s miles from the electronic disco anthems such as Ride A White Horse or the sexy glam rock influenced Ooh La La.
Each song is called by a single name. Jo starts off the album and in comes the beautiful and calming vocals of Alison Goldfrapp, often reminiscent of Kate Bush, setting the ethereal sense of the album with lyrics such as “you better run for your life.” The softer sounds of the album call back to their debut album Felt Mountain from 2000, and blend a gentle style with folk for a wonderful and leisurely atmosphere. More orchestral sounds are layered throughout the album, with dramatic double bass matched against the whisper of Goldfrapp’s voice in Drew, and the lament of songs such as Laurel are accompanied by an array of strings.
Perhaps the song I was most interested in listening to was the one named unlike the rest; Stranger is an acoustic focussed track with a feel of wonder and intrigue. The song takes the orchestral feel of the rest of the album, and the gentle voice of Goldfrapp to create something sensual and unknown.
Tales of Us is an album that deserves your unbroken attention. Each dreamlike song tells its own story and has its own gorgeous composition. It’s certainly a wonderful album, although its commercial success is perhaps something of chance, as it’s in no way an album of catchy singles like some of Goldfrapp’s previous releases. However, the huge success of bands such as The XX who have mastered the quiet and minimal show there is room for something delicate within the British music scene today.
Goldfrapp’s Tales of Us is out 9th September on EMI.