The first time I heard Alison Goldfrapp was on the shamelessly erotic "Pumpkin", on Tricky's masterpiece "Maxinquaye". Since then, she has collaborated with Orbital among others. But more importantly formed a duo with composer Will Gregory, bearing her last name. Together, the two have recorded an ambitious debut album.
"Felt Mountain" is an almost overtly orchestrated piece of cinematic pop music. The arrangements are all but shy: huge strings grace almost every track and are often backed up by brass or swelling synths. In the first couple of songs, Goldfrapp find the sort of nerve necessary for this music to work. The result is both exciting and beautifully emotional. Things like the brass twist in "Human" and Alison Goldfrapp's desolate whistling in "Lovely Head" are proof that this duo has a healthy feeling for details. Unfortunately this doesn't prevent them from losing the grip a tiny bit as the album progresses.
After an impressive opening song trio, the album doesn't combust again until the eighth track, "Utopia". On the way there, the music lacks momentum; the strings turn somnambular rather than arousing. If Goldfrapp want to realize their full potential, it would probably do them good to search inspiration in labelmate Barry Adamson's more imaginative, nourish compositions. And they could inject their music with some of the body fluids that pulsated through the mentioned Tricky album, and turned it into such a carnal classic.