Tales Of Us by Goldfrapp

Tales Of Us by Goldfrapp


One of the most intriguing electronic groups of the early 2000s, Goldfrapp have established themselves as pioneers of sorts, incorporating trip-hop and classical strokes into their cinematic medley of downtempo and occasionally rugged pop. Their discography so far is quite impressive, and we’ve come to expect something different each time around. The next chapter of their evolutionary journey brings us to the old English countryside charm, rounded out with sophisticated classical underpinnings and a dash of electronica.


#1. Jo 5:36
#2. Annabel 3:59
#3. Drew 4:44
#4. Ulla 3:48
#5. Alvar 4:36
#6. Thea 4:48
#7. Simone 4:14
#8. Stranger 4:10
#9. Laurel 4:09
#10. Clay 4:20


Alison Goldfrapp: Vocals, Synthesizer
Will Gregory: Synthesizer, Keyboards




9th September, 2013




Goldfrapp’s sixth studio release is far from immediate: there are very few predictable major key sequences and percussion is nearly absent. But that only gives Alison’s soothing soprano vocals more room to operate, placing the impetus of each track squarely on her shoulders. The record is all the richer for it, as she skillfully weaves through the lush piano lines and soft arpeggios to evoke a sense of village folksiness that transitions to a Michael Legrand-style 20th century continental cinematic score.


For all its soaring complexity, Tales Of Us is a surprisingly tangible and concrete effort. Named after the ten people closest to Alison, each track brings an honest appraisal of the flawed relationships that define her. But unlike Alanis Morissette, Alison refuses to shroud her opinion in clinical detachment or off-handed cynicism, willing to settle for muddied truths than carving out clear answers. A very personal album no doubt, but obscure enough to spare us from the discomfort of feeling like peeping Toms stalking her social life.


Deciphering every little line and stanza for significance without a priori in-depth knowledge of her life is an exercise in futility, and that’s hardly the point. You are here to witness a woman deconstruct her relationships with uncommon nuance and grace, not turn privy to her personal thoughts and emotions. That could be an impossible feat for some, but Goldfrapp are smart enough to strike that delicate balance.


Very few producers can conjure up one authentic classical pieces, let alone an entire set of melodies that span her emotional range, which is why Will Gregory deserves every accolade heaped on him. In a gratification-obsessed musical landscape, restraint and self-conviction aren’t as prized as they used to be. Countless codas have been intentionally left bare, almost daring us to plead for a fuller experience or a more conventional sequence. It will be interesting to see how the established fanbase responds to this oblique playfulness, especially in live settings.


In the past, Goldfrapp have opted for more image-oriented reincarnations with each record – from polyester sex symbol to goddess mother nature – and Alison has humored us aplenty with her motley avatars. Tales Of Us on the other hand, is not so much a reincarnation as it is a complete reimagining of the London-based duo’s identity.





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