Supernature (Mute)

Like Madonna, Alison Goldfrapp has reinvented herself and stayed afloat atop a number of musical trends. From her days as a demure trip-hop siren to a libidinous electroclash queen on Black Cherry, she and bandmate Will Gregory have been quietly winning over fans worldwide, most notably in their British homeland.

But on their third full-length, Supernature, Goldfrapp seems to be sticking to familiar territory. While "Strict Machine" was a successful and stompin' track, there's no reason to use the same synth lines and 2/4 shuffle for the first track of a new album. Goldfrapp claims to have just been discovering its identity as a group on the first two releases, but it's a shame that these songs are so overproduced. (Most notable in this regard is "Ride the White Horse," with its worn-out drug connotations and disco nostalgia.)

Still, the album is better than your average chart-topper. The hooks are subtle, the orchestral arrangements accomplished, and the dark undertones of Goldfrapp's past works remain. "Satin Chic" is all playful piano, while "Number 1" is a wanton skuzzy-bass'd tale. "Koko" piques interest with its sitar, but is soon lost in shimmer and gloss.

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