Acoustic guitars and slower tempos distinguish this fourth album from Goldfrapp's previous work, although certain trademarks persist: achingly beautiful melodies, hermetic and glossy production values, and Alison Goldfrapp's luscious vocals. The album features the lovely hit single "A&E." If 'Supernature' was airbrushed in bold strokes of glitterball glamour, Seventh Tree, written by Alison & Will and recorded at their own studio deep in the English countryside, is its sensual counterpoint as it emerges gilded in the butterfly colours of an English surrealism shared from Lear to Lennon. Q Magazine says ''Caravan Girl' is bright, summery pop, 'Cologne Cerrone Houdini' has a languid, Serge Gainsbourg feel..." 10 tracks. Mute. 2008.
unveils an Alison Goldfrapp quite different to the one we saw on her career highpoint to date, 2005's Supernature
. Whereas that album was grandiose, glammy, and almost aggressive in its brash, thrusting sexuality, Goldfrapp's fourth album is no less sensual, but rather more subtle in its approach. Recorded with longtime collaborator Will Gregory out in rural Somerset, Seventh Tree
feels like an attempt to fuse the pagan folk of cult English horror classic The Wicker Man
< to a lush backdrop of woozy electronics and a restrained orchestral sweep reminiscent of '70s-era Serge Gainsbourg. In practise, this means much of Seventh Tree
goes where earlier Gainsbourg disciples such as Air have gone before: chilled-out, soporific electronica with a light organic edge. Luckily, Goldfrapp remains a compelling enough figure to keep matters on the right side of ethereal: the gorgeous "Clowns" imagines the Cocteau Twins' Liz Fraser guesting on some long-forgotten Nick Drake out-take, rustic folk with an all-but-indecipherable vocal and an undercurrent of desolation, while "A&E" shows Goldfrapp's pop urge has not deserted her, uplifting electronica with a warm, bucolic twist. --Louis Pattison