Goldfrapp, Brighton Dome, Brighton

Well-mannered seduction
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The Independent Culture

It transpired that the techno cabaret of 2003's Black Cherry, their second album, was merely a taster of the sauciness to come. With this year's Supernature, an ultra-sleek collection of erotic pop songs and grinding electro beats, Goldfrapp have finally hit the jackpot. The editor of the NME recently deemed it "the sexiest album around", while T-Mobile was quick to snaffle the chart-topping single "Ooh La La" for its advertising campaign.

Then, of course, there's Alison Goldfrapp herself, a diminutive temptress who reduces grown men to mawkish puddles. Tonight, she's a vision in gold platform boots, lycra catsuit and pleated red cape, with a fan blowing her hair upwards for the full vamp effect. There's an air of desperation in the appeals from the men in the crowd to "Talk to us, Alison."

But the all-new Goldfrapp aren't about banter, they're about theatre, a fact illustrated by the pink neon lights that bring to mind Seventies discos and the poker-faced dancers who emerge in all manner of surreal costumes. During "Train", four of them appear in string bikinis with wolves' masks covering their faces. "Ride a White Horse" sees Goldfrapp flanked by two girls in equine costumes who prance up and down and flick their tails playfully.

The songs from the first album stand up well next to the new material. The electronic frequency that signals "Lovely Head" is as frightening as it is thrilling. But it's the synthetic beats and dirty bass-lines of Black Cherry and Supernature that this audience want, and for the most part it's what they get.

If there's a problem with the show, it's that it's a little too mannered. While Goldfrapp wrings her sexuality for all its worth, you don't imagine for a second that she's actually working up any heat. Doubtless a comfy pair of slippers and a thermos of cocoa await her back in the dressing room.

Certainly, one wonders why she needs to go to such lengths to get our attention when she's such an accomplished performer. Her voice is as beautifully turned-out as her outfits, flitting from breathy whisper to huge operatic wail in the blink of an eye. Goldfrapp's stage persona may be seriously seductive but it's a highly polished illusion that may prove her undoing. She may be the toast of the pop world right now, but where, you wonder, can she possibly go from here?

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