Something strange is happening down here in the Londonist dungeon. Editro's decreed the Londonistas wear nothing but leather jerkins, pvc crotch high boots and 'plug in' horses tails. Everyone's getting a little hot under the collar: the news team are a tad friskier than usual (which is pretty damn frisky ladies and gentlemen) and the literary guys are arguing the relative merits of The Story Of O as a life style choice. It can only mean one thing. Goldfrapp are back on the scene.
Goldfrapp - Supernature
If you've been unfortunate enough not to have been seduced by Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory's ever so filthy-dirty beats before then best imagine Lady Chatterly's lover reading the Marquis De Sade in a Bristol rave chill out room whilst steaming, toned bodies writhe against each other in some archane pagan fertility ritual. Scissor Sisters may be the Lords and Ladies of glam camp NY naughtiness but Goldfrapp remain the Kings and Queens of earthy enticement and half whispered mischief. Whether pure English country gardens of gentle trip hop or full on sleazy disco stompers Goldfrapp make you want to get down to some serious bumping of the uglies.
Take current single Ooh La La. An electro Marc Bolan high kicking with the ladies of the Moulin Rouge whilst Miss G lays down the agenda: Switch me on, turn me up...I need ooh la la la la. There will be many children arriving next May courtesy of this song. Lovely To See You and Ride A White Horse follow in a similar vein, beats grinding up against each other whilst Alison breathes pure raunch, the latter tune especially, running it's tongue lightly across your ear lobe whilst waving the penthouse flat keys before your eyes.
You Never Know slows the pace down with it's the stop/start rhythm sitting over a layer of lazy strings whilst adding a touch of Kate Bush eccentricity to the vocals. Let It Take You Away is a lush mournful piano and simple repeated beat to drift away to on a sleepy Sunday afternoon. Fly Me Away completes the triumverate of mellow moods with it's perfect tranquil electro pop that dreams of far off places, whilst slumbering in an old school Big Audio Dynamite way.
Slide In's technoBowie influenced beats slowly starts to pick up the pace again in time for Koko where the ghost of a Tubeway Army synth line discovers Agent Provocateur underwear and runs off to find a willing body. Or two. Satin Chic is perkier than a tight top in a cold breeze, Time Out From The World another sublime tripped out soft breath across the nape of your neck, as the sun rises. Number One leaves you with a last kiss, a warm reminder that you're the only one in Goldfrapp's life, the synths rising and falling in soft embrace, and like that it's done.
Right, we're off to take a cold shower whilst you listen to it here. That's an album of the week right there. And if that's not enough we have a couple more for you on the other side.Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Howl
Once upon a time in a land not so far away there were three fellas with scruffy black hair who wore scruffy black clothes and played scruffy, noisy fuzzed out rock music with the blackest of souls. They were even pretty decent in 9 Songs. But life was not kind to these doom mongers. People wanted them to smile and be happy and they disintegrated in a horrible black mess. But then the ghost of another man who wore black came and spoke to them and said Sinners, it's good to be moody fuckers but fer chrissakes ditch all that distortion rubbish, sometimes you just have to take it down a notch or eight.
And so it was that Black Rebel Motorcycle Club went country. Well country and blues and gospel and a little bit shoe-gazing. And in doing so turned out to be really pretty cool. They recorded songs like Howl that took one of those epic Coldplay style structures but made it sound like it was being played by My Bloody Valentine without all the scary noisy stuff. Or Devil's Waiting which is only missing the coyote howl to make it a true lonesome cowboy tune. It's the kind of track that gets played over slow motion shots of American Civil War soldiers getting blown into their component pieces.
That's not to say it's all dark an' moody stuff. Ain't No Easy Way is all foot stomping, slide guitar, harmonica work driving a touch over 55 down Route 66 knowing the cops are waiting with shotguns on the state line. Back when Spread Your Love first waved it's shaggy grubbby fist at the world no one would ever have associated the band with the harmonica but there it is again on the alt.country drifting of the most excellent Fault Line. Then again gospel blues wouldn't have made it into the reviews either but hey, here's Promise doing just that.
It's hard to see how the almost Joy Zipper-esque melancholy country blues of Gospel Song is going to sit in their live set next to Whatever Happened To My Rock 'N Roll (Punk Song) but if you're an alt.country loving Goth then you might just find it in your black black heart to love this. Especially since this new all growed up incarnation might well lose them a few of their old fans. It's a brave step nonetheless and worthy at least of a listen here. But don't expect to come out smiling. Hmm, maybe not that much has changed then after all.
Super Furry Animals - Love Kraft
So we're really in need of a wee pick me up and who better to round off the night than those loveable men dressed as dogs, the Super Furry Animals. Starting with a splash, literally, SFA continue to plough their path as a kind of Welsh Beta Band, only being SFA of course they're really nothing like it, although their sense of sci fi fun does draw parallels with those other purveyors of the weird and wonderful, The Flaming Lips.
The first half of the album sees the boyos all laid back whilst krafting some joyous chaotic pop that seems to slip between lounge creamcheesecore, ELO and pomp singalong Beatles (The Horn). It's the kind of stuff to sway to, which is good because Lazer Beam is just around the corner to remind you that they can still fill a great pop song with oddball sounds that might just have been created by a bunch of ritalin addicted kids in the BBC radiophonic workshop before being given to Prince for mastering.
But fret ye not. The Furries still have plenty more bountiful pop tunes in their picnic hamper. Psyclone and Back On A Roll just don't fancy being disturbed by anything more than a passing cloud whilst they build daisy chains and go skipping through the long grass. This album is as summery as BBQs in warm July rain, it's heart set firmly in a picture postcard whilst still runnning around with stick on alien antenna. The third of three damn fine records, and you know what, we're going to make it joint album of the week because we've had horny, and this just makes us happy. BRMC lose the draw on smiles but hey, they'd probably just growl at us anyway. XFM, who have the old listening post thing all sown up this week have Love Kraft to spread on your sandwiches here, and we're off to get all saucy Supernatured up again. We promise to wash our hands before we do it all over again in 7.