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Boomkat Product Review:
It's come to be expected of Goldfrapp that each album arrives with its own set of themes, its own identity and self-contained universe. Not to mention its own wardrobe for Alison. After the anthropomorphic psychosexual electro rock of Black Cherry came Supernature's 21st century glam, with both albums finding plenty of chart success for Goldfrapp and her cohort Will Gregory. Seventh Tree is a clear departure from all those uptempo pop songs, occupying itself instead with English psychedelia and a kind of cinematic folksy feel, not to mention a wealth of clown references: aside from the harlequin and pierrot costumes that populate the artwork, there's opening track 'Clowns', which sounds like a cross between Moon Safari-era Air and Vashti Bunyan's Just Another Diamond Day. Goldfrapp's voice seems to strive for the high register stability and piercing tones of Bunyan's voice, and consequently glosses over any semblance of clear annunciation of the lyrics, which in this instance have something to do with breast sizes. It's all very odd indeed, and rather difficult to work out what we're supposed to have learned from the experience. Fortunately, the music is entirely agreeable and distracts you from making any further enquiries. The nonsensical, sing-songy quality persists through 'Little Bird', another exercise in whimsy, leading into the slightly more uptempo, clearcut pop of 'Happiness'. Seventh Tree neatly balances its pop predilections out with idiosyncratic instrumentation and production signatures. Songs like 'Eat Yourself' and 'Cologne Cerrone Houdini' mark a step back towards the John Barry-isms of Felt Mountain, propped up by acoustic guitar and strings, only this time around the recordings are coloured with a kind of '70s-tinged super 8 feel, which further helps to evoke a sense of period psychedelic atmosphere, all culminating in the blurry synths and heavily layered vocal harmonies of 'Monster Love'. Seventh Tree marks a necessary departure from the band's recent work, and finds them in a creative zone where they sound at least as comfortable as they did within the glitter-coated showbiz trappings of earlier work.