Seventh Tree (Mute)

By Goldfrapp

The international success of the single "Train" in 2003 propelled Goldfrapp into even more glammed-up dance-rock for the 2005 album Supernature. The British duo—Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory—retreat back to their downtempo beginnings on Seventh Tree, which, despite the absence of a dance-floor hit, is a gorgeous folk- and bubblegum-influenced success. The group's melodic instincts survive on Seventh Tree, but they're couched in slow, supple arrangements that incorporate folk guitar and piano amid the synthetic orchestration. Even "Caravan Girl," the biggest song on Seventh Tree, shows off a romantic streak that Goldfrapp has never demonstrated so clearly before. It can almost be too much—the swells of closing track "Monster Love" and what sounds like a harpsichord on the first single, "A&E," nearly push those songs into pap, but Alison Goldfrapp never follows. She's got a big voice but she knows how to use it, and she holds the disc back from melodrama.