“Black Cherry” is the follow up to “Felt Mountain”, and finds Goldfrapp expanding the sounds of their debut with a definitive nod to the 80’s and early electronic music – in similar respects to what Felix da Housecat did with his excellent “Kittenz and Thee Glitz” album.
“Crystalline Green” starts things off with noticeable Blondie influences. While the production quality is very 21st Century, the track definitely derives its sounds from the 70’s and 80’s. “Train” follows with an 80’s new wave flavor setting the undertones to Alison’s sexy, drugged-out yet delicious vocals. By the time the album’s title track kicks in I’m seriously wondering if it’s still 2003, or if I’ve time warped back in time to the year 1982.
There is also the undeniable inspiration of such trip hop acts as Portishead and Massive Attack floating in both the musical productions as well as Alison’s vocal styles throughout “Black Cherry”. This is most evident on “Deep Honey”, with the Portishead-esque crooning over ominous orchestral layers.
Standouts on the album include “Hairy Trees” (which definitely belongs in a car commercial, if it isn’t already) as well as the album’s closer, “Slippage” – the latter featuring gorgeous lyrics over spaced out strings and hypnotic organ. “Slippage” represents Goldfrapp at their best; when they aptly combine futuristic sounds over Alison’s luscious vocals.
With all of the new wave, retro, electro-clash talk still circulating the “Is it any good?” circles of electronica, Goldfrapp’s latest release is a refreshingly pleasant listen that will definitely leave a song or two in the listener’s head the next day.
“Black Cherry” is definitely up to date in terms of production style. However, the album delves heavily into the 70’s and 80’s, which reflects in what one might deem a lack of originality. Regardless, the album is undeniably catchy and there’s not a single tune that doesn’t deem a second listen. It is this very catchiness and pop sensibility that is so attractive about Goldfrapp’s releases – the concept of an electronically oriented album, released in a pop medium, that is pleasant to the listener’s ears and also pushes the boundaries of radio-friendly music.