GOLDFRAPP – “Lovely Head”

A duet for theremin and heartache: at least that’s what it sounds like. Goldfrapp make a cool, nervy noise – you mught draw torchy parallels with Portishead, but this is much nearer Broadcast, or at least what Broadcast should be doing. The same airy retro stylings and polite beats, the same alien chills, but with a heap of extra hurt that makes “Lovely Head” more than just the impeccable sum of its sonics.

Though I have to say, sonically this is great: spectral whistling, underwater lasers and then the sound of birds tearing themselves to pieces. But despite my best initial efforts to write her off as another wannabe trip-hop smoulderer, I have to admit it’s Alison Goldfrapp’s drawn, dignified singing that puts “Lovely Head” rungs above its obvious peers. There’s not much of it, but no more is really needed: she sings “Do you recognise the smell? / Is that how you tell / Us apart” and the frost on her voice says everything about her situation. Any more and she might crack, or her lover might – but she holds back, and “Lovely Head” freezes into a painful, powerful tableau.