Goldfrapp's Black Cherry
inhabits a dark alley, bristling with urban menace and throbbing with a deep electronic pulse--a far cry from their breezy debut
, which gently led the listener to a fairytale aural utopia occupied by Parisian pop, whistling divas and baroque masters. Having given up the countryside for a neon-lit studio, Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory have infused Black Cherry
with an intensity and brooding claustrophobia that's both exuberant and sensual. Simultaneously mellifluous and mechanical, tracks such as "Train," with its fiery industrial rhythm, steer Goldfrapp dangerously close to the ailing electro-clash scene, before veering back to more familiar territory with the likes of the sultry, downbeat "Black Cherry" and languid dreamy ambience of "Forever." Elsewhere our Hampshire-bred heroine gets deep down and dirty on "Twist," an ode to oral that finds Goldfrapp waxing lyrical to a fierce driving Kraftewerk-esque synth. No Felt Mountain
to get lost in, but at least there's "Hairy Trees" to make up for it. --Christopher Barrett
(Mute) The perpetual dilemma that follows releasing a spectacular debut like 2000's Felt Mountain is the expectation of a worthy follow-up. Much of the anticipation leading up to Black Cherry came from wondering how Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory would pull this off: to replicate their art-hop masterpiece or fall into the disastrous sophomore slump.The two settled on a sound heavily steeped in the current electro revival as a foundation for Goldfrapp's icy vocals. It's more Siouxsie Sioux than Eartha Kitt with Gregory, abandoning the haunting Ennio Morricone-style scores, still managing to work the arrangements as cinematic with a synth-heavy, electro template. "Tiptoe" is like Portishead on acid; "Slippage" a slowed, industrial burner with a crushing beat and beautiful, lyric-less vocals. Unfortunately, these tracks lie on what is an inconsistent effort, and much of what's found here is fairly pop-tinged. Far from forgettable, Black Cherry falls a bit short of the sum of its parts but is valuable for its more daring numbers.
Tony Bogdanovski -- From URB Magazine