Like a shark, popular music requires constant movement in order to survive, for stasis equals death. Into this Darwinian struggle for survival comes British electro-pop duo Goldfrapp, whose own relentless drive forward is encapsulated in their latest studio album, Silver Eye.
Representing a clean break with the past, Silver Eye does away with the folk-noir stylings that had proved such a hit with audiences on Goldfrapp’s previous two outings. And while this creative daring is to be applauded, the end result is underwhelming to say the least.
It doesn’t bode well when the album’s opener, Anymore, lands not with a bang but a whimper. There is nothing here that could possibly thrill or excite your average listener, particularly when all aspects of the production seek out the middle-ground so resolutely. As such, the four or so minutes pass entirely without incident, and what remains immediately after, is the hope that things will pick up later on.
Unfortunately, as we make our way further into the album, the energy levels continue to flatline and that shot of adrenaline that is so desperately needed never comes. What follows, instead, is a torturous slog through what feels like one long and uninterrupted dirge. It is the sound of the factory: drums beat out regular, mechanical rhythms, while synthesizers (actual machines) and Alison Goldfrapp’s lead vocals hum away impassively.
Excluding the comparatively light and bouncy Everything is Never Enough, this is music that sounds manufactured rather than crafted, where human feeling is dialled down and ironed out.
If Silver Air is the sound of Goldfrapp moving forward, then what we have here is a shark that has lost all sense of direction.