Alison Goldfrapp - The Love Reinvention



The artist formerly known as half of Goldfrapp deploys powerful creative forces for a louche debut solo record whose modus operandi is essentially ‘poppers o’clock’

Indie darlings they may be, but Goldfrapp (the duo) sometimes displayed remarkably good business sense: replicating the glam rock stylings of Strict Machine for a bigger audience with Ooh La La, leasing Lovely Head to One2One, and now Alison Goldfrapp releases a club-oriented record on Skint two years after a certain other indie darling struck gold with a similar idea. The Love Invention boasts copious credits for original ’80s revivalist Richard X as well as the so far underrated Ghost Culture, and at various points is home to absolutely top-quality songwriting.

The title track is an early highlight with its cascading synths, disco groove and syncopated bloops, a paean to the transcendent power of love (“Don’t let the fear in you / hold you back / just let it come to you / meet the attack”). If the song’s wide-eyed affectation is a tad satirical then the effect is as subtle as on The Weeknd’s Dawn FM, and the toplines are just as infectious. Elsewhere, In Electric Blue steps into electro-pop territory, as crystalline vocal melodies mingle with contemplative pads and insistent semi-quaver rhythms run through the arrangement, like BloodPop never left.

While Alison herself is a writer and producer on all tracks, it’s worth peeking under the hood to see the creative team she’s assembled rotate. Subterfuge, for example, sees Ghost Culture in a more prominent role, and its hook deserves an Ivor Novello just for working in a reference to lab equipment (“Subterfuge / you got me running in a loop-de-loop / you got me spinning in a centrifuge / all day, all night”). The track is a departure from 4×4, as the bassy beat feels more inspired by R&B and the pads are decidedly warm and introspective.

Fever has been given the status of quasi-lead single, a version produced by Paul Woolford released in advance and featuring on the album’s deluxe edition. Fever (with the parenthesis “This Is The Real Thing” used to differentiate it) is undoubtedly a highlight, with bubbly bass and sleek chords giving it a nice shot of euphoria. Good and reliable though Woolford is, both Fever and the more minimal Special Request remix lack the dynamic contrast and satisfying structural elements of the song we hear on the record proper, particularly the middle section where the arrangement reduces to filtered synth and vocoded vocals.

So far, so good, though there is one relatively subtle issue with this album that unfortunately recurs on multiple songs. Regular listeners will already know that Alison has a wonderfully sultry and expressive voice, so why is the vocal production here so unflattering, creaking under the weight of digital processing? Whatever the reason, breathier sections therefore take on an abrasive, hissing quality, and while some tracks could possibly justify this as an intentional effect, The Beat Divine and closing number SloFLo are noticeably weakened.

And what of its possible inspiration, Róisín Machine? That record by (of course) Róisín Murphy (and its companion-piece reworking as Crooked Machine) chose to thread tracks together in a partially mixed format, extending their structures and exploring nuanced topics, making it arguably more ambitious than this collection of poppy numbers. But one might just as easily listen to the gorgeous 303 ostinatos and glistening arpeggiator of So Hard So Hot and wonder who needs that more artsy stuff anyway (“We’re the souls we invite / we’re the sparks in the blue / we’re the curve, curve of light”). In truth there’s space enough for both, for The Love Invention wades into territory more mainstream than even Supernature, slotting merrily between Murphy’s recent output and Kylie Minogue‘s return to her Disco best, and succeeds very well in creating stylish, louche, mature bops. In so doing, it unquestionably establishes Alison Goldfrapp as a solo force.

Oh my God! The homosexuals just continue to get rammed and stuffed and fed of content!

SOOO ready for Friday! Am I mistaken, or is the version of Fever on the album supposed to be a little different from the one released?


Staff member
The album came into work early.........can't wait to give it all a preview x
Perched for the @2014 411.

Alrighty then

I had a quick listen (won't play again until Friday), but her voice is the first thing that I need bring up - it's unmistakably recognisable, but still sounds so fresh and current [in another timeline Fever would be a top 5 smash!!] I liked the pre-releases singles on their release, but they definitely come to life more in an album listen. There's definitely better on the record however. Personal immediate faves are Fever, Hotel and Gatto Gelato. Subterfuge is giving Faithless feat. Dido, In Electric Blue is the longest to get going but explodes nearer the end. Sloflo is probably the closest to "classic" Goldfrapp. Amazing album though teebs! A lot more accessible and pop than I was expecting.
Not sure how I’m feeling after the first few listens. I absolutely love the rush of the first four songs(NeverStop, Love Invention, Digging Deeper Now, In Electric Blue), but the whole middle section I find rather plodding and uninteresting(The Beat Divine, Fever, Hotel, Subterfuge). It jumps to life again for me in a big way with Gatto Gelato and So Hard So Hot and then fizzles out again with SloFlo.

A mixed bag so far.
The album versions of "Digging Deeper" and "Fever" are both excellent which makes introducing them to us as remixes and announcing the project off the back of them even more odd.

"Hotel (Suite 23)" and "SLoFLo" probably lean into the down-tempo/chill side of things too much for this project, but they're good songs and given the scope of Goldfrapp's discography they make sense coming from Alison even if this has been sold as a departure from her past work.

I really like "Subterfuge" personally and the "you've got me running in a loop-the-loop" refrain has been in my head all afternoon. My only criticism would be that Alison seems kind of lost in the mix - nothing about it sounds like her to me, and given what a recognisable voice she has it's a shame it comes across rather anonymous because of that.