When Goldfrapp release a new album, you never know what you will find in the box.
Is it the dreamy, quirky Goldfrapp of Felt Mountain? The glam of Supernature? Or even the folky, acoustic feel of their most recent record, Seventh Tree?
"Head First", Goldfrapp's fifth album, sees the virtuosic British duo (that electro-pop siren Alison Goldfrapp and her wizard sidekick Will Gregory) embrace 80s blockbusters (Top Gun, Flashdance), and euphoric synth-bombast (Abba, ELO, The Pointer Sisters), to buoyant - if not mindblowing - effect.
Will and Alison once again reinvent themselves, and head back towards the disco.
The CD comprises nine brisk tracks and clocks in at under 40 minutes, so there's hardly a wasted second.
There is not a sigle dud, all songs snappily titled, five with just single words.
This is upbeat, unashamedly pop album.
There's "Rocket" with its witty guide to how to end a relationship ("I've gotta rocket/You're going on it/You're never coming back"). "I Wanna Life", which quotes Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams, is unashamedly camp and sounds like the early '80s hit "Gloria" by Laura Brannigan and the frankly implausible notion of Goldfrapp finding herself too tubby for her jeans on "Alive".
The beautiful "Believer", with its stadium-sized chorus,reminds of Fleetwood Mac.
"Voicething" tones down the disco and is floaty and atmospheric while "Hunt" is dark and dramatic.
Apart from the dance pulse, there is a subtler side to Goldfrapp, and happily that is also here, as a title like "Dreaming" might lead you to suspect.
There's not much room for the experimental Goldfrapp of old here, although the abstract album closer "Voicething' with its sampled, cut up vocals and no actual lyrics could almost have found a home on "Felt Mountain".
"The breathy technology of Voicething is more captivating than a Laurie Anderson tribute but something of a musical non-sequitur".- Colin Somerville.
All in all, the album is first and foremost about all-out electropop, all done in the best possible taste.
No duds here, but not a truly killer song either.