|1. Lovely Head|
|2. Paper Bag|
|5. Deer Stop|
|6. Felt Mountain|
|7. Oompa Radar|
|9. Horse Tears|
A spectacular combination of myriad styles, ranging from Shirley Bassey, John Barry, Bjork, Portishead, Angelo Badalamenti, Burt Bacharach, and Kurt Weill, Goldfrapp and composer Will Gregory have put together an album that sounds oddly familiar, yet highly original. When Goldfrapp starts singing the jazzy chorus to 'Human ("are you human/or a dog"), it sounds like a lounge act from another planet.
Along with 'Human', the dark, sultry 'Lovely Head' ("Frankenstein would want your mind/your lovely head"), the bitter 'Paper Bag ("brown paper bag makes for a hat/when it rains on your head mate/cheers for that"), and the more conventional-sounding 'Pilots' kick off the record in fine fashion. However, the next three songs, the spacy, often indecipherable 'Deer Stop', the gentle, processed yodeling and dreamy scat singing on the title track, and the bizarre brass band flourishes on 'Oompa Radar' all take you into a musical twilight zone, where no musical influence, however odd, is safe.
Felt Mountain's brief sidetrack into the realm of the extremely eccentric sets you up for the album's finest moment, the utterly beautiful, yet sinister 'Utopia'. Over a steady beat and lush instrumentation arranged by Gregory with operatic backing vocals, Goldfrapp sings "I forget who I am/when I'm with you/there's no reason/there's no sense" before gently intoning "fascist baby" in the chorus. Just when you think the song is about a lover's emotional dominance, Goldfrapp returns with stranger lines like "my dog needs new ears" and "I'm super brain/that's how they made me". The song is amazing, both in the way it sounds, and how hard it is to pin down thematically.
Both Goldfrapp and Gregory shine equally bright on Felt Mountain. Gregory's musical arrangements have a definite cinematic quality to them as well sounding electronic (sans samples) while still emanating warmth. Goldfrapp's vocal talents are second to none; at times I thought wrongly that a theremin was used on the record, but it was in fact Goldfrapp's stunning voice. As she closes off the album in eerily gorgeous singsong-like "la la la"'s that slowly fade out, it's like seeing a beautiful girl run off giggling mischievously right after showing you something disturbing and grotesque. Felt Mountain overflows with unsettling beauty.