April 22, 2010

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Goldfrapp, Head First
Mute Records, March 19

If you’ve had any interest in this album you’re already quite aware of the Giorgio Moroder/ABBA comparisons that, yes, are correct, but this boy/girl duo remains hesitant to jump into those influences full-cannonball, here content to swan dive as inconspicuously as possible – the pair stays within their ditzy self-enforced parameters, which mandate throwing in some mundane crap because that’s just what’s done these days. One major change is that all this album’s contents belie their fetish for ambient and downtempo, an approach that characterized their first LP Felt Mountain and was supercharged for 2007’s Seventh Tree — but there’s no need to get too pedantic about this, being that Goldfrapp was never about being all that unsellable: it’s always been waif-in-the-woods techno when you boil it down. Thus the Moroder reference fits if you’re thinking Donna Summer’s “Love to Love You Baby,” but only toward the wisp, fog and sparkle — I’ve known loose girls, Alison Goldfrapp, and you’re no loose girl. In the end, these are reflections on an infomercial comp that could be titled Now That’s What I Call Chicks Doing Dance Pop Through the Ages: Madonna’s “Lucky Star” is channeled for “Dreaming,” ABBA is thoroughly nicked in “Head First,” “Shiny and Warm” could have been a Sheena Easton B-side. Nods to Ladytron and their own 2003 LP Black Cherry prevent this from being completely retro. B — Eric W. Saeger