Wahey! Goldfrapp have announced details of new album, ‘Tales of Us’.

Goldfrapp announce new album details… at last!

After what seems like an eternity of Alison Goldfrapp tweeting about spending all of her time living in the woods, leaving us to stew, it seems she’s finally made her way back into civilisation and got on with it, so to speak. All of those mentions of trees and nature did give the impression that the duo would be going back to their previous, more pastoral sound of albums Felt Mountain and Seventh Tree, which Alison confirmed shortly before the album announcement with a brief, and seemingly self-doubting message of “If albums F.M & S.T are your sort of thing, i think you might like our new album?! Xxxx”. She then hinted that something would be going on at 9am the next day, clearly an announcement.

Just a note here: One day’s warning is the perfect amount of time for you to give an album announcement announcement; none of this  several-months-in-advance–will-tweet-album-title in-August nonsense (Lady Gaga… though I’m still waiting for that too…)

The album is called Tales Of Us and is going to be released on September 9th 2013 and below is the artwork.

Alison does the walk of shame

Alison does the walk of shame

 

As album covers go, it is an attractive piece of artwork, in keeping with the band’s artistic, Alison-centric image, but I can’t help wondering what on earth is going on in that picture. Alison seems to be walking through the woods with a haunting look on her face, wearing a rather short skirt and looking like she should know better. It’s a foggy night and there are numerous cars forming a circle around her in the wood, shining their lights onto her. Now, if that is not a dogging scene, I do not know what is. I’ve mocked up a deluxe edition cover for the album if they need one:

"I don't like it when people watch"

“I don’t like it when people watch”

The track listing, if you happen to be a fan of seeing names of songs you won’t be hearing for a while, and thus have no idea what they will sound like, is this:

1. Jo

2. Annabel

3. Drew

4. Ulla

5. Alvar

6. Thea

7. Simone

8. Stranger

9. Laurel

10. Clay

Ten tracks is still a bit short, but I’ll take it, as long as one of them isn’t an instrumental track like last time. The track names don’t really give as many clues as Bowie did by having a song called ‘Dancing Out In Space’ on his last album, and I don’t know who any of these people are, but it’s good news if your name is Ulla and you’ve felt under-represented all this time.

You can now hear a small clip of Annabel in a teaser video, along with clips of other songs, but it’s anyone’s guess which ones they will be.  Incidentally, if you want to book gig tickets in the fan pre-sale, the password ‘annabel’ has to be used for several of them, which the detective in me reckons is a hint that Annabel will be the first single from the album.

What else? The album will be available to buy on all the usual formats. Good news for vinyl fans, bad news again for mini-disk fans. You can also get a “VERY special limited edition that contains the CD, vinyl, an exclusive disc of bonus material plus the full album in 5.1 on DVD. It also contains a 12″ print (first 500 copies signed by us) and a 40-page hardback book which we’ve compiled” but you can’t exactly listen to a book can you. But still, if you’re made of money, why not indulge? It’s better than spending £100,000 fixing up failed pop stars in a newspaper sting.

So now it’s just a matter of waiting for any real clues as to the nature of the album. Alison has tweeted what looks like lyrics to some of the songs, which is a small insight, but, apart from that and the clips from the video, we’re entering this deafly.

New lyrics? I'm not keen on the last couple though.

New lyrics? I’m not keen on the last couple though.

If the songs could sound anything like the following ten, that would be absolutely great, Alison, and one of them is a Patrick Wolf Wind-In-The-Wires-esque collaboration, even better:

Lovely Head
Pilots
Forever
Utopia
Little Bird
Happiness
A&E
Eat Yourself
Number One
Monster Love

 

That’s that then. Let’s just have another listen to good old Pilots. Another great Bond theme that never was.

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Most anticipated albums of 2013 PT 4 – Goldfrapp

Most anticipated albums of 2013

2. Goldfrapp – As yet untitled new album

Release date: Unknown
2013 should see the arrival of a new album from Goldfrapp, one of my favourite bands with one of the most diverse back catalogues from the past decade.  In fact, the only reason this album is at number two in my list of most anticipated albums of 2013 is because I don’t know which way it is going. Whereas 2003’s Black Cherry, most successful album, 2005’s Supernature and last album, 2010’s Head First were all more dance and glam rock orientated albums, debut album, 2000’s Felt Mountain sounded like a slightly creepy/folky  James Bond soundtrack and fourth album, 2008’s Seventh Tree was a pastoral, mellow, almost acoustic folk affair that sounded like it had been recorded in the woods. With Goldfrapp producing two very distinct sounds, it is uncertain which way the new album is heading.
When Seventh Tree was released, after the success of Supernature, Goldfrapp could have easily regurgitated the album for its follow-up but instead came out with a sex-free album with Alison dressed as a clown and caressing a giant owl. First single A&E was a top ten hit but the album was not as popular as its predecessor, despite being beautiful and very listenable indeed.
When their last album, Head First, was released, it was a return to a more upbeat pop sound but many of the songs felt a little bit hollow and the album was short, with a running time of under 40 minutes, with only 9 tracks (of which one was an instrumental). When the video for Alive came out, it was described by some as the kind of video a band makes when they realise nobody is going to see it, so they can do whatever they want. It is an album that I rarely go back to, apart from a few songs, and the public didn’t take to it. Fortunately, the whole album campaign did bring about the best non-music thing to happen concerning Goldfrapp: when they appeared on TV and were forced to mime but Alison missed her cue and pissed off the Italian hostess, who angrily asked ‘WHAT ‘APPEN? YOU AVE THE PROBLEM WITH THE BALLOONZA?’ [see below]. Beautiful. Soon afterwards, Goldfrapp parted ways with their record label, but not before a forced end-of-deal singles compilation was churned out.
 
What can we expect the album to sound like?
Nothing official has emerged yet, no videos of Alison rapping about cake, so a little digging and social media exploration has to be done, but according to Alison’s Twitter account, in messages posted in January, the album is still not finished and she is writing her socks off. She has, however, posted pictures that she took in the woods and also talked about a new music video. If the music video is indeed set in a forest, then it may end up looking like the video for A&E and so could hint at a more folky album, which I would very much enjoy. Whatever happens, a return to the overly-poppy, shallow sound of Head First seems unlikely, as Alison herself has said that she didn’t actually like the album, which, while being refreshingly honest, does seem to be shooting oneself in the foot somewhat. That album was, as she says in this interview, a bit rushed due to the record label’s demands, so hopefully this lack of pressure, coupled with unfortunate personal losses in Alison’s family life should lead to a more mellow, natural and less forced album. A mix of Felt Mountain and Seventh Tree would suit me. Songs like A&E, Black Cherry, Eat Yourself, Happiness, Little Bird, Monster Love, Number One, Pilots, & Utopia would make for the perfect sound for Goldfrapp in 2013.
What about the artwork?
Goldfrapp’s image has always pretty important for the band, or at least for Alison, while Will hides at the back. It would be a good move if the pink jumpsuits worn during the Head First campaign were never to return and if these were replaced by the imagery we saw from Seventh Tree: floaty cloaks and large paper animals. Let’s just appreciate that owl photo once more.

Image

Bloody lovely.
What’s the worst that Goldfrapp could do now?
I think I’ve made this pretty clear. Trying to chase success by making the music they think people want to hear will end up in a poor album, so as long as they don’t rush things, they should be ok. A featured rapper would be worse though. Or a music video like Starships, with Alison sticking her bum up in the air and grinding in a bikini with a silly green wig on.
How good does this album need to be?
Even a 6/10 by the band’s standards will be good enough but as it’s Goldfrapp you can almost guarantee the album will be worth the wait. The love I feel for Goldfrapp is quite hard to express properly in words and I’ve felt this way for eight years, ever since I accidentally received Supernature as a birthday present (I think I was swayed by the big fold-out poster of Alison wearing a peacock’s tail). With the recent chart success of acts like Lana Del Rey, demonstrating a laid-back but chart-conquering sound, in a perfect world the new, gentle Goldfrapp album would receive the recognition that the band so obviously deserves. But then again, apparently guitars are making a comeback, so Goldfrapp might get Brian ‘Name your price’ May to axe all over the album, if he’s done with Dappy and pretending to be an astronomer. Finally, now Adele has got hers out of the way and Amy has passed on, the theme for the next Bond film should be Goldfrapp’s for the taking, someone just needs to post a copy of Felt Mountain through Barbara Broccoli’s letterbox.
One last video to appreciate, which is surely a good case for the argument of reinstating Simon Amstell on music television:
 

Part 1: Janelle Monae
Part 2: David Bowie
Part 3: Lady Gaga
Part 4: Goldfrapp
Part 5: Little Boots