What do you get if you cross an experimental art student with a reclusive multi-instrumentalist? Well, an Alpine spectacular, followed by innovative electro, then pastoral folk-pop, retro revival, and symphonic splendour. That’s what. Goldfrapp‘s albums still go unnoticed by the masses, but every one is full of delights and surprises.
If you don’t know what crotch theremin playing looks like, then get ready to find out. They channeled the Alps on Felt Mountain (2000), invented Rachel Stevens‘s career with Strict Machine (2003), and reimagined the eighties with Head First (2010).
Where to start
Start with 2003’s seminal Black Cherry. Their second album, it blends elements of the first with sounds which would be explored further on the next release.
What to buy
After Black Cherry roll back to the marvellous debut album Felt Mountain (2000) and then the third album Supernature (2005) – ideally the US version including exceptional bonus track Beautiful. Top it off with Tales of Us (2013).
Don’t bother with
The 2006 US-only remix album We Are Glitter should be considered by completists only. The 2012 compilation The Singles is something of a failure, for reasons which I outlined in my review below.
Their covers of UK Girls (Physical) – on the special edition of Felt Mountain (2001) – and Boys Will Be Boys – from the Satin Boys, Flaming Chic 7″ single (2006). The live-only track Sartorious – available on the b-side of the 2004 reissue of Strict Machine is also a delight to hear.