Goldfrapp

Silver Eye

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AllMusic Review by

Given Goldfrapp's fondness for following one of their albums with its musical and emotional opposite, Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory were due for a fun album to balance 2013's gorgeously somber Tales of Us. What they deliver with Silver Eye, however, isn't quite so predictable; instead of swinging between extremes, they stake out a more intriguing middle ground. It's true that the album begins with a pair of cybersexy movers that are quintessentially Goldfrapp: "Anymore"'s hydraulic grooves and the Radiophonic Workshop disco of "Systemagic" are untouched by EDM or any other trends that surfaced since the last time the duo made its way to the dancefloor. However, as Silver Eye unfolds, things get more difficult to pin down easily. The hypnotic invocation "Tigerman" and the standout "Become the One," which pairs tweaked, Knife-like vocals with an undulating beat before shooting into orbit on silvery synths and harmonies, are the first signs that Goldfrapp aren't working from an obvious template. They continue to subvert expectations on the album's second half, where they combine reveries that might have been set to orchestral backdrops on previous albums with a largely electronic palette that balances fresh and familiar perfectly. "Faux Suede Drifter"'s languid majesty harks back to Felt Mountain, but the psychedelic contrails of guitars and backwards vocals feel new, emphasizing the contributions of co-producer the Haxan Cloak and guitarist Leo Abrahams. Similarly, the galloping percussion underpinning "Beast That Never Was" adds a newfound restlessness to its pristine beauty. Just when things might be getting too contemplative, Goldfrapp pick up the pace again with the breezy "Everything Is Never Enough," which somehow distills their entire body of work into a single song, and "Ocean," another Haxan Cloak collaboration that closes the album with operatic drama and industrial crunch. At once balanced and eclectic, Silver Eye may be the first Goldfrapp album to represent all the sides of their music equally well -- no small feat, considering how long they've been dancing to the beat of their own drum machine.

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