Alison Goldfrapp Dives Headfirst into Pop Music on 'The Love Invention'
Published May 11, 2023In North America, Goldfrapp will be forever lumped together with the mid-'00s electroclash movement that spawned bygone acts like Fischerspooner, Miss Kittin, and Shiny Toy Guns. But in their homeland, Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory are perpetual superstars, scoring six straight top ten albums (between 2005's Supernature and 2017's Silver Eye) on the UK Official Charts Company. That may be why the debut from the titular Goldfrapp comes off nearly as vital and fertile as her modern-day contemporaries.
Conceived largely over lockdown, The Love Invention sounds more revelation than obligation, as Alison told reporters she was forced to "think a bit more independently" during the album's gestation. But while Goldfrapp very rarely brought outside writers into their insular world, Alison relies heavily on co-writers across each of The Love Invention's 11 tracks. While Goldfrapp always straddled the line between chic and glossy, the duo seemed to be moving toward ethereal sounds, even bringing in experimental creator the Haxan Cloak for Silver Eye. Across 48 shimmering minutes, Alison's solo debut eschews that witchy bent for the closest thing to straight up pop music she's ever worked on.
Co-writing and/or co-producing more than half of the album's tracks with Kelis and Sugababes producer Richard X was a shrewd choice on Alison's part — opener "NeverStop" floats brassy vocals between bass-heavy rhythms while "Love Invention" is a whispery jam that finds Alison crafting chopped-up aural beats.
Both of the terrific collaborative singles ahead of the record's release — the robotically sleek "Digging Deeper" (featuring German tech house duo Claptone) and the rave throwback "Fever" (with UK producer Paul Woolford) — are given glammy, throbbing makeovers for the LP. "The Beat Divine" and "Hotel" sound most similar to Alison's work with Gregory, working off clacking drum sounds, glistening synths and soaring choruses.
The second half of the LP shows off more of Alison's whispery croon, as "Subterfuge" matches a robotic delivery with airy melodies and closer "SloFlo" stands as the record's moodiest moment. "Gatto Gelato" is unexpectedly adventurous for a four-on-the-floor dance song, delving into pulsating keyboard solos and a delivery that feels more like a set of samples. The third single from the LP, "So Hard So Hot," is one of three tracks on which Alison shares production duties, revisiting '90s acid house alongside James Greenwood for one of the album's strongest tracks.
On The Love Invention, Alison Goldfrapp shows that she's more than just the face of Goldfrapp. In fact, she might still be the face of modern UK sophisti-pop. (Skint Records)