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When [B]Alison Goldfrapp[/B] sings, the room falls silent...

When Alison Goldfrapp sings, the room falls silent. But where once her voice provided psychotic octave-bounding gymnastics on records by Orbital,Add N To X and Tricky, today it sighs modestly over a selection of tasteful torch songs. Where once she sounded

as though her blood was being boiled as she sang, now the six-strong Goldfrapp live ensemble ooze music to sip coffee to. And that name, so Starbucks: one Goldfrapp, please, with extra froth.



Newly signed to Mute, Goldfrapp is ostensibly a collaboration between the singer and Will Gregory, a multi-instrumentalist and film soundtracker. Primarily influenced by Sergio Leone, Gregory laces much of Goldfrapp's first album, 'Felt Mountain', with tempered brass, sweeping violins and creeping studio atmospherics.



Yet live, like bindweed snaking through a rose bush, the overbearing stringzzz suffocate both the songs' delicate construction and Goldfrapp's beautiful voice, transforming what should have been a dizzying debut on home turf into a schmaltzy revue.



A final 'Utopia' and 'Horse Tears' introduce a heady Bjvrkishness to proceedings, but still you wonder where this chanteuse and her note-perfect minstrels can take these songs which sound, even at this virginal stage, so correct and in their place. For a project which has seemingly tried hard to fashion an air of mystery about it, you're left craving nothing.

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