Goldfrapp ditches the 80’s glam synth pop sound from their last album “Head First” and goes with somewhat of a stripped down sound with their new album “Tales of Us.” The more mellow sound is the flip side of the sonar dichotomy that Goldfrapp’s music usually entails, so fans of their hits like “Strict Machine” and “Ooh La La” may be a bit disappointed in this one. However, I think it may be their best work yet.
There is a dreary feel to the record The opener “Jo” for example features some pretty dark lyrics-
Those aforementioned fans of Goldfrapp’s upbeat stuff will take comfort in knowing that my favorite track (which was also maybe the most interesting) was the dance number “Thea.” It has a really cool outro as well with what sounds like someone walking away to the sounds of gently fading synth chords and a pulsating beat all after the final lyric “I want you gone.” It is just awesome artistry! “Thea” really stands alone in contrast to the rest of the album.
The only problem I had with “Tales of Us” was the repetitive sound structure. The songs seemed to all begin softly with a guitar intro and then add on some flowing strings. I really liked them, but I think a bit more diversity could have been given to the tracks and still maintain the sound the group (or maybe more specifically producer Will Gregory) was going for. On the plus side, the stripped down style really lets Allison’s vocals come to the forefront of the music and draw you in to the stories (“tales” if you will) they are telling.
The album features tracks all titled with people’s (mostly women) names other than the mysterious “Stranger” could be mistaken for the opening credits of the next James Bond movie. It’s just a beautiful flowing track that I could not listen to enough. It reminded me of similar works by the duo like one of my favorites “Lovely Head” from their highly acclaimed debut effort “Felt Mountain.”
“Drew” was the first single released back in July and continues that dark sound but is also lifted up a bit by the beautiful backing strings. The second single released last week was “Annabel” and builds a bit slower. The outro lets you float along and really appreciate what you just listened to, then brings more strings in for a second and immediately they back down and the track fades out and make a great ending.