The long-awaited debut album by Black Submarine has a title, New Shores, a release date, February 3rd, 2014, and a preview track on Soundcloud, which you can stream below. Nick McCabe and Simon Jones of The Verve teamed up with vocalist Amelia Tucker (you can download several mp3s at Amelia’s site), Goldfrapp string player Davide Rossi and Portishead percussionist Michele Schillace to form the group. They released an EP in 2011, which you can also stream below, under the name The Black Ships and also contributed to the Java Heat soundtrack earlier this year.
If you’ve seen previews for Joss Whedon’s upcoming television series Dollhouse, you may wonder who sings the haunting song used in the ad. The song is “Utopia” by Goldfrapp, from their beautiful debut album Felt Mountain. Though the band received some attention last year with the release of Seventh Tree, most younger people are more familiar with Goldfrapp’s recent dance-centric albums rather than the atmospheric sound of this 2000 release. If you like the song “Utopia”, you’ll love the entire Felt Mountain album.
Goldfrapp’s Seventh Tree was released yesterday. While the new album’s dreamy chamber pop sound has more in common with the ethereal melodies of the band’s brilliant debut Felt Mountain than with the electro-dance style of Black Cherry, it isn’t nearly as exciting as previous releases. Still, the simpler melodies better suit Alison Goldfrapp’s delicate voice than the bizarre disco sound most often associated with the band.
The opener “Clowns” is a pretty little acoustic tune and Alison’s voice is positively seraphic, though her beautiful singing is almost absent of enunciation. That’s probably for the best, though, because the lyrics are quite silly. “Little Bird” layers Alison’s quiet rustle over a blend of light electronics and pretty strings, with a programmed flourish at the end.
I suspect it’s the Polyphonic Spree in Xanadu fluff of “Happiness”, the mellow Zero 7 monotony of “Road To Somewhere”, and the grating hyper active pop of “Caravan Girl” that make Mr. Toad cringe.
“Eat Yourself” again masks cryptic lyrics behind verbal incoherence, but I like the low-fi recording style and throaty tone of Alison’s voice. It’s her voice that gives life to “Some People” and “A&E”. The arrangements aren’t fancy, but the songs should appeal to Kate Bush fans.
“Cologne Cerrone Houdini” is the only track that really stands out as a Goldfrapp song, with dreamy instrumentation weaved together with Alison’s exotic vocalizations.
I was not granted permission to share an mp3, but following are links to the audio stream and video for “A&E”.