Goldfrapp Felt Mountain

The rampant vogue for the glory years of orchestral film soundtracks seems only to be growing, producing an alternate pop universe in which Ennio Morricone and John Barry are the Beatles and the Stones. Its glorious result has been some of the most deliberately and unashamedly dramatic music of recent times, Broadcast's stupendous new album and Portishead's work being at the forefront. This debut album from British singer/composer Alison Goldfrapp and composer foil Will Gregory is another swathe of melodic decadence begging for a celluloid counterpart. Goldfrapp's voice is key: a rich, elastic croon that resembles Shirley Bassey, or (fear not!) Barbra Streisand, before her paranoid need for attention caused her to sing everything like this! The credited electronic touches here are negligible; a welcome decision at a time of so much misinformed experimentation. Best are the hyper-romantic "Pilots" and single "Lovely Head," while the supremely downcast "Deer Stop" is Lady In Satin at half-speed. The one-note air of melodrama across these nine tracks could have stood some tempering, but this is a minor quibble. Few debut albums have this much confidence, this much clarity. After this initial spark, fireworks will surely follow. (Mute)