Tales Of Us
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Tales Of Us
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A sumptuous body of work, Tales Of Us has been two years in the crafting and is their most narrative, cinematic and intimate recording to date. Nothing in their accomplished back catalogue has hinted at the new lyrical breadth that the band have introduced to Tales Of Us. All the songs except for one are named in the first person with a cast list of evocative character sketches, the contrary love affairs, the suspense, hallucinations, fairy tales and modern folklores documented and the traces of redemption they find in song take the poetry of Goldfrapp s delicately considered music somewhere brand new.
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If you're looking for another "Supernature" than this album wasn't made for you. I don't really get why people get confused or shocked when Goldfrapp reinvents themselves and produces a sound so different from their more widely-known releases. That is one of the greatest stengths of this musical duo. They're so incredibly versatile and have talent and imagination beyond the scope of what people usually expect from musicians these days.
That said, I appreciate the fact that they don't stick to some formula that appeals to mainstream audiences. Leaving behind the tribute to chunky uplifting 80's synthpop in "Head First", Goldfrapp returns with "Tales of Us" a cinematic dreamscape of hushed tones, soft pianos, rushing strings, and moody synths. It's not as disjointed and lively as "Felt Mountain" and not as warm and mercurial as "Seventh Tree" but it's a still return to form in a way. A return to sophistication and sensuality. Although, this time, in a much darker tone. The cover itself is the moodiest yet with Allison walking away from a collection of headlights hunched over as if she doesn't even want to be seen.
This albums is a fascinating collection of stories all accompanied by mononym titles with the exception of the curiously titled "Stranger". It opens with "Jo" a mysterious lullaby about murder peppered with a piano that sounds somewhat like raindrops. "Annabel" follows a young boy exploring gender identity through his dreams. The livelier but distant "Drew", a song that I took as a man reminiscing about an orgy, features Alison practically sighing as she sings "feel the cold arrive in my bones". My personal favorite, "Thea", is the closest anyone will get to a dance track although the layered synths and the stomping beat evoke a desperate feeling of grasping for someone rather than the need to shake my hips or something. Then there's "Stranger" a breathy song with light guitars that sullenly coo's "you'd be killing me tenderly". The albums closes with the uplifting "Clay" a warm and gentle song about a soldier's words to his deceased lover, another male soldeir.
In closing, "Tales of Us" is without a doubt a dark and beautiful entry into Goldfrapp's discography. I was somewhat disappointed with their last album "Head First" as it felt rushed and lacking in depth despite its overall positive demeanor. This is an astounding comeback and I look forward to what they will do next in the future.