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LIVE REPORT: Goldfrapp
Ian Wade , July 25th, 2013 06:20

Ian Wade witnesses Goldfrapp delivering some good omens for new LP Tales Of Us at Somerset House

Photograph courtesy of Debbie Smyth

It must be galling for Alison Goldfrapp to have seen the likes of fog-horned talent vacuum Florence Welch and – “ooh look an owl!”-styled Bat For Lashes take the Goldfrapp formula of Seventh Tree, and dilute it for a wider audience. Even if karma now looks like Welch being best remembered for bellowing a cover version at anyone and everyone, now is as good an opportunity for Alison Goldfrapp to rise up and reclaim her manor once more.

None of the follow-up album Head First is played, almost as if the duo themselves realise it was a step backwards from what had been up till then a very forward-thinking enterprise. Songs from the upcoming Tales Of Us, already trailed earlier in the week by a clip of the track 'Drew', suggest that the wheels are properly back on, and pepper the set this evening, fitting in well with the more well known tracks and hits perfectly.

Floating about in black, Alison and her regular live chums (who, especially when they’ve got two keytars on the go, look like a cosmic TSB Rock School) the mood is set with opener, the seductive 'Paper Bag' which dates back to their Felt Mountain debut, followed by 'Clowns' – possibly the most beautiful song to discuss botched boob jobs. The key is low, the mood is mellow and you feel inclined to be sitting in a meadow rather than cradling a beaker of booze in central London. Then there’s three new numbers, as 'Stranger' (stringy gliding loveliness), 'Clay' (very Rustin Man bucolic) and 'Alvar' all drift into the courtyard – incidentally, possibly the best small outdoor venue in London, both sound- and vibes-wise.

While previously unheard beforehand, and sounding very promising for Tales Of Us, there seems to be a slight consensus in the audience that proceedings could do with picking up soon, and thankfully Goldfrapp seem just as aware of this when 'You Never Know' strikes up and leads into a slightly more doof and direct series of hits, breaking out the lasers for 'Number 1', the frankly amazing 'A&E', 'Ride A White Horse', the perv-glam threat/treat of 'Ooh La La' and an astonishing 'Caravan Girl'.

Having dispensed with their biggest hits, for the encore, the aforementioned 'Drew' gets its public airing, and the new ‘direction’, if you will, starts to make sense, especially when followed by 'Little Bird'. The final trio of tunes - 'Black Cherry', 'Train' and 'Strict Machine' – all date back to 2003's Black Cherry album, which seems a slightly strange move, focussing the crescendo of your new live experience with three tunes from four albums back, but hey, that’s for the pedants to worry about, the crowd here seem to be loving every minute.

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