With Seventh Tree, Goldfrapp make the kind of huge stylistic leap you don't expect from a band whose previous album finally secured them a million-seller.
They have ditched the pony-tailed coquettes and electro-erotic stomps of Black Cherry and Supernature for a sophisticated version of winsome-damsel folk music – like swapping leather for lace. "Clowns" sets the tone, with sleek, Mantovani-esque strings smoothing over the rustic edges of a folkie lullaby; "Little Bird" blossoms into a high-register Kate Bush effulgence.
The blessed Bush seems a touchstone in several tracks, as when Alison Goldfrapp's delicate vocal is bound by a cat's cradle of tremulous Optigon guitar arpeggios in "Eat Yourself". Lyrically, the album is mostly nonsense, in the noble tradition of Lear and Carroll; even the singer's hospitalisation is transformed through a drug-induced reverie in "A&E". The closest to their former synth-pop selves is the psychedelic oompah march "Happiness", but the best is saved for the sublime anthemic pop of "Caravan Girl".
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