Release Date: 06.05.03
Record label: mute / a.d.a.
With a Cherry On Top
by: peter naldrett
Felt Mountain had more peaks and troughs than the Alpine scenery on its cover. That first album from Goldfrapp, back in 2000, had three or four stand-out tracks that made it worth its weight in gold. But those fragile beauties were packed in the bubble-wrap of also-ran album fillers that slipped my mind within minutes. Unfortunately, the same can be Goldfrapps follow-up long-player, Black Cherry. Although a lot of Black Cherry is very tasty, there is a lot of nonsense on here that leaves a bitter aftertaste.
The pick of the pops on Black Cherry is the fantastic new single, "Train", which starts off with a fantastic Soft Cell-type 80s disco beat and never ceases to blast your ears with brilliance until it fades away. Other memorable moments from Goldfrapp this time around include the title track itself, and the very poppy "Twist". Mention also has to be made of the superb "Slippage", a great slow-but-steady finale to Black Cherry that plods a way into your subconscious with sounds of screaming and moaning. But on the way to "Slippage", Black Cherry stops at "Tiptoe", "Hairy Trees" and "Deep Honey", places that I would not recommend you spend much time at.
The musical duo that makes up Goldfrapp, that being Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory, have spent the last 12 months putting together Black Cherry. Like Felt Mountain, which sported the whistling classic "Lovely Head", there are tracks that become well known because of their instrumental appeal to the TV advertising gurus. "Train" and "Slippage" could well be among them. But after the low-key success of Felt Mountain, I wanted something more from Goldfrapp this time around. They proved they could not only be good, but among the best when it came down to creating atmospheric, addictive pieces of music. Perhaps greedily, I wanted an album of wall-to-wall perfection, because thats what I thought Goldfrapp followers deserved. Instead, I have an album with four or five gems and a whole load of padding. An album where too much time has gone into creating weird wolf images on the cover and not enough into engineering perfect pop. A shame, but not one without beauty. 07-Apr-2003 2:05 AM