Alison Goldfrapp & Will Gregory channel both the past and the future on Felt Mountain. This album is part electronica, part cabaret, and part vintage soundtrack. Throw in some “Eraserhead” for good measure.
The first thing you notice on this album is Alison Goldfrapp’s unique singing style. She sounds like Shirley Bassey doing a James Bond on the first cut, then a little like Julie Christie on the next one. By the third cut, you realize she’s developed her own original style.
The next thing you’ll notice on this album is the flat out bizarre arrangements. They are nothing if not original. There’s tinny sounding harpsichord, sounding like something from an old Henry Mancini album. Goldfrapp whistles hauntingly on several cuts. The orchestral backing is thin, but expressive, reminiscent of old sountrack writing. On a few cuts, Goldfrapp vocalizes with an otherworldly Theremin-type quality.
Listening to this album, you can imagine Goldfrapp playing in dark bar in a “Blade Runner” future.
Lyrically, the songs tend to be oblique. There aren’t a lot of lyrics to each song. This gives the lyrics room to breathe. The songs don’t so much tell a story as paint a picture.
The package design for Felt Mountain fits the music perfectly. On the cover, Golfrapp is shown in a tinted, manipulated photo that is part vintage glamour and part Bride of Frankenstein. The rest of the photos make you think of different times and quiet lonely places.
Goldfrapp have put together a stunningly original first album. If this isn’t a classic, then what is?