Kicking off their 15th year together in style, Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory (collectively known as – you guessed it – synth-pop stalwarts Goldfrapp) are back with Thea; an ambient journey into some pretty dark sonic territory and the third single to be pulled from their acclaimed sixth album Tales of Us.
It starts with some ominous shaker and mangled synth/string samples before Alison’s famous vocals immediately interject with the fitting opening line “It cuts like tiny knives/Rain beating down”. Her voice has always had a bipolar-Kylie-Minogue sort of tone to it and here on Thea, it’s as wonderfully apparent as ever.
If you’re looking for a futurist glam-rock sing-along like 2005’s Ooh La La or some jaunty, feel-good ‘80s throwback pop like single Happiness from 2008, you’re almost guaranteed to be left feeling wanting. In terms of “radio-friendliness” this isn’t even reading the same book let alone on the same page but ultimately, that’s a good thing.
The ethereal falsetto vocals and chugging mid-tempo groove give the song an overall feel that wouldn’t be entirely out of place on a record like Björk’s 1995 classic Post, but at the same time there’s no question that this is Alison Goldfrapp and she’s here to show you the more sinister side of her musical personality.
Much like Drew and Annabel – the previous two singles from 2013’s Tales of Us – it’s fairly subdued but instead of the largely acoustic palette explored on these tracks, it sees what will surely be heralded as a welcome return to the beautifully warped electro-pop for which Goldfrapp have been known and loved for a decade and a half now.