Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory, the duo who make up U.K. electronica act Goldfrapp, were burned out.
Their 2005 Mute release, “Supernature,” brought the group a wide range of commercial success, a Grammy Award nomination and numerous licensing deals, but it demanded a heavy touring schedule, including a U.K. festival run with Coldplay.
Chic cool has followed Goldfrapp for years now, its music resonating with the fashion industry and within gay communities, as well as drawing fans from both the indie rock and dance music worlds.
Three tracks from “Supernature” hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, and the album was nominated for the best electronic/dance album Grammy (it lost to Madonna’s “Confessions on a Dance Floor”).
But the group sought a new direction. The result is “Seventh Tree,” which arrives Feb. 26 via Mute.
“It was really nice sitting around with a couple of instruments and a voice and doing something polar opposite of the prolonged sound of ‘Supernature,”’ Goldfrapp recalled. “We wanted that space and warmth that we were missing.”
There’s a mellower, more airy vibe on “Seventh Tree,” although Goldfrapp’s distinctive voice is as lush as ever. There are moments that recall the languid strains of Air and Zero 7 and others that brim with accessible melodies.
Initially, the plan was to explore a more psychedelic sound, according to Goldfrapp. “We went out and bought some music labeled ‘psychedelia,”’ she said. “We took it back to the studio, (but when) we listened to it, we thought, ’That’s not what we mean at all.’ I think we invented our own meaning for (“psychedelic”): We wanted it to be joyous and positive.”
Gregory said the pair kept bandying “psychedelic” about in order to “goad ourselves on. It conjures up something a little out of focus, a bit dreamy and a little bit, in a way, out of its mind.”
Given the right circumstances, “Seventh Tree” has the potential to diversify Goldfrapp’s fan base much like Canadian artist Feist did last year with “The Reminder,” a notion that Mute sees as a distinct possibility.
The band hopes to launch a 20- to 25-market North American tour in conjunction with an appearance at California’s Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in late April.
Now, Goldfrapp’s task at hand is to prepare the new material for the live setting, which will incorporate the act’s trademark visuals.
“It becomes part of the whole language; the narrative,” Goldfrapp said. “They all work together to build this picture of this world you are creating.”