O2 Academy, Leeds/Touring
SUBDUED isn’t usually a word associated with Goldfrapp.
Previous tours have seen Alison Goldfrapp – who together with Will Gregory forms the London band’s nucleus – play a theremin with her crotch while surrounded by an array of bestial-looking dancers.
Promoting seventh album Silver Eye, the theatrics have been toned down to just a Bacofoil suit and a stage that’s predominantly backlit in muted tones.
It's a moodiness well suited to opening track Zodiac Black, which sounds like a gothic Lamb, as a cavernous, insistent drum pattern underpins a low-grade synth. It also works on the downbeat chilliness of Ocean, the keyboard line of which could have been taken from an OMD track.
But it’s less successful for songs drawn from their purple patch, with the electro-glam Train and Ooh La La demanding lighting that’s as brash as the music.
And the infectious, foot-stomping appeal in their updates of Spirit in the Sky and The Glitter Band is tragically flattened by the atmosphere.
In the shadows of the mood lighting, the relative weakness of some of the newer pop tracks is also rudely exposed. There’s nothing inherently wrong with Systemagic and Everything Is Never Enough but they’re clearly cut from the same 12-year-old fabric as Supernature.
That reliance on old ideas is all the more disappointing, given that the duo started out with continual reinvention, going from cinematic trip-hop to electro-pop and on to bucolic electro-folk.
The return to the sound of their commercial peak suggests that they’ve run dry of new ideas and, unfortunately, this gig doesn’t offer any evidence to the contrary.
Playing 02 Academy Bristol on November 9 and O2 Academy Brixton on November 10, tickets: goldfrapp.com
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