On 2008’s Seventh Tree it looked like Goldfrapp had abandoned the dancefloor for good in favour of more sedate thoughtful numbers. Though the album didn’t offer the same body-moving glee as the duo’s earlier work it suggested that Allison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory wouldn’t sacrifice their creative spark at the altar of maturity. The pair’s latest album Head First is a classic case of over-correcting as the group ditches everything they accomplished on Seventh Tree in favour of pubescent ’80s disco-pop.
Fittingly Goldfrapp takes no tentative steps instead diving headfirst into a world where only the biggest corniest synth lines the glossiest production and the shallowest lyrics will do. In a sense the band succeeds as the album’s ’80s shtick permeates so deeply that you can almost hear the lines of cocaine being cut in the bathrooms of day-glo roller discos. The problem is that without the spandex the perms and the shoulder pads the emptiness of the material becomes all the more apparent.
The sugar rush “Rocket” and “Alive” can be a lot of fun but even during its best moments the neon miasma of Head First doesn’t disguise the album’s status as a deliberate knock-off of something that was already pretty phony the first time around.