The Goldfrapp see-saw sees the duo (Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory) taking turns to experiment with different tempos an alternating albums. There are the electronic explosions of Supernature and Head First, starring synthesizers alongside Alison’s velvet vocals, with bleeps and buzzes and distortion, and there are the chilled, spacious, acoustic-heavy efforts Seventh Tree and Tales Of Us; situated in forests a million miles away.
This year’s Silver Eye returned the band to their super computers, creating algo-rhythms and electronic-bass driven tracks for Alison to layer her poetics over, and perform with an alluring vigour. It’s 18 years since the band formed, and still the front woman seems as shy and thankful as if this was her debut run of shows; she coos thanks to the fans in attendance, and the messages that come via the band’s Facebook afterwards appear equally heartfelt. Absent from the stage is Will Gregory, who is now officially a studio-member, preferring to steer away from the tour bus. His secrets have been shared, however, as the band backing Alison provide the build of jagged-layers to support her performance.
Concentrating on just three of their seven LPs – Black Cherry, Super Nature and Silver Eye – the setlist is a 16-track tour-de-force, part art installation, part underground club. When the tempo dips just a little lower, the crowd sway and stare, while tracks like Anymore, Ride On A White Horse and Strict Machine have them reaching for the sky, and the moon (in their mouths…). Aside from a handful of numbers, Goldfrapp are not particularly a band to singalong with, however. Alison delivers her prose with curves across the melodies so that you feel to chant them back at her might be treading on toes. In short – do not do Goldfrapp at karaoke. Except, just maybe, Ride A White Horse.
If patterns are to be believed, we’ll see the band return in a few years with something soft, stripped back and a show with back catalogue tracks to compliment. Which is great as a Goldfrapp-fan, as it’s almost as if your favourite band is actually two bands…