Black Cherry (Mute)

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Goldfrapp's debut LP, Felt Mountain, should have sounded dated on the day of its 2000 release; it should have gone down as trip-hop's last dance, the album that finally shot the wad, where the played-out, Bristol-generated, Madonna-copped sound was concerned. But Felt Mountain was way too fucked-up for that. Perverse, surreal, icily lush along the lines of Broadcast, yet cinematic à la Movietone, the album resisted easy categorization, to say the least.

Black Cherry is twice as weird. There are a couple of Balearically snoozy duds, but overall, frontwoman Alison Goldfrapp has come into her own as a kind of Kylie Minogue from the dark side, a sex kitten with a whip and a sneer to match the industrial noise slimed over everything by co-conspirator Will Gregory. Which is to say, Black Cherry should be the album that drives a stake deep into the heart of electro-clash. It's the scariest record you've ever heard -- slick, sick, and orgasmic all at once: a snuff film as album. Compelling. Brilliant. Yuck.

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