Goldfrapp — Silver Eye

Mute |
It's the kiss of death from Miss Goldfrapp /
Pretty girl, beware of this heart of gold: /
This heart is cold

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Goldfrapp have finally descended from the clouds and brought the fog with them. A welcome refocusing has precipitated. Previous albums have leaned towards dewy sentimentality and have at times flirted with outright kitsch, but Goldfrapp's gaze is no longer upon the horizon — it is concentrated directly ahead. Silver Eye is sharp and immediate, cut with a newfound and stylish edge of menace.

In the years since their last album, it appears Goldfrapp have received a sludgy transfusion of whatever melancholic bile oozes through Trent Reznor's veins. A little bit of Nine Inch Nails is pulsing just under the surface of Silver Eye, giving the unsettling impression that you are being stalked.

Though the chilly haze harshly circumscribes your vision, you can hear the buzz of some unknowable swarm hovering out of sight. A regular, distant thump keeps pace with your heartbeat: too quick for a walk, too steady for a jog, too close for a coincidence. Something is out to get you.

Razor-lipped but unfailingly tranquil, Silver Eye recalls a slow-motion monochrome tour of Nine Inch Nails' mashy spiky industrial equipment, the frantic dash for survival decelerated into appreciation, even admiration for the disquieting beauty of the whole complex. Goldfrapp have taken notes on the array of almost violent synthesisers wielded by their contemporaries — CHVRCHES' daggers of sunshine and joy, David Guetta's shards of pheromones and ecstasy, Crystal Castles' blades of serrated metal — and welded them into something measured, monochrome and fascinating.

In fact, it isn't hard to imagine that Silver Eye was produced by some future incarnation of CHVRCHES: deeper and suppler, but retaining similar sensibilities. The strobing electronics and flair for syncopation downcycled with age, but still unmistakeable. Lauren Mayberry's sweet chirrup ripened into something huskier, more mature, more seductive.

A siren sounds through the mist. The thumping grows closer, the buzzing intensifies. A silhouette appears before you, drawing inevitably nearer. Silver Eye has found you. Whatever happens next, it won't be quick.