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Goldfrapp, ‘Supernature’ (Mute)

Alison Goldfrapp’s vocals lie somewhere between the icy tones of Miss Kittin and Debbie Harry’s sex-coated purr. In fact, Supernature sounds like a bridge between these two eras. Goldfrapp is what disco would have sounded like had punk not destroyed its cache in the ’80s. The album thankfully doesn’t have the alienating steeliness that makes so much electronic music sound as if it were made in a clean room, but there are some sonic missteps that could have been corrected with a little more attention to detail.

Supernature begins with the single, “Oh La La,” and it’s just a little too similar to the group’s own “Strict Machine.” In fact, the song shows the band’s biggest weakness: Alison Goldfrapp has said she fell into dance music accidentally, which may explain why some of Supernature‘s sounds like such a misstep. The beats are so simplistic that their minimalist repetition occasionally teeters over into redundancy. But other tracks, like “Ride a White Horse,” and “Fly Me Away,” are better because of Alison’s velvet-soft vocals, which stay that way even when heavily processed. “U Never Know,” a “Lucy in the Sky” recorded on sun-warped tape, is Supernature‘s best, if only because it sounds like nothing else on the record.

See also: Annie, Anniemal (Vice, 2005)