They say time travel is impossible, that one cannot travel back to another dimension of time via spacecraft, hover boat, time machine, hot tub, etc. Brits Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory, better known as Goldfrapp, defy those laws of physics and transport their listeners to another time: the ’80s.


Head First

Goldfrapp’s newest addition to its five-album repertoire, Head First, allows its fans to travel to a time when cut-off denim shorts were socially acceptable, MTV actually played music videos and mullets were, like, all the rage. Head First melts together ’80s synth-pop beats with keyboard melodies to produce an album that evokes another generation without ever leaving home.

The London-based electro-pop band’s antiquated influence is present throughout its earlier albums. After the band’s previous mellowed-out album, this concoction of out-of-this-world, laser-beam sound effects and keytar riffs draws in a different crowd. Head First is a suitable fit for club-goers and synth lovers.

The record opens with the energetic track “Rockets.” Electronic soundwaves flow through the stereo as spacey dance beats jump from chord to chord. Alison Goldfrapp’s feathery voice (paired with her equally feathery-teased, blonde bangs) coalesces into the discotheque beats for a Xanadu effect.

The songs, all peppy, poppy and fun, coherently mesh into an album of galactic, roller-disco futuristic tunes. On “Shiny and Warm,” shimmery keyboards create an out-of-orbit sound and “Alive” trickles in a lively, glittery ambiance. “Alive” is certainly a new-wave, dance crave and clearly a standout on the album.

Also exceptional is the title track, in which Goldfrapp longs for her newly found love as she soulfully sings, “You were always on the land / I was always in the air / My whole world in light / Head first in love.” The track sets a mood of breezy admiration and joyous love, and the aphrodisiac atmosphere is set with shooting-star effects and dainty “la la la”s.

While most of the tracks on the album are more airy, ”Hunt” is a bit darker and almost animalistic. Heavy breathing in the background haunts a lover gone astray. Goldfrapp hunts them down as she warns “Every night, every day / Making plans for your escape / All you love you destroy / Everyone is your toy.”

The album as a whole might compel you to whip out your Lite Brites and rhinestone Ray Ban Wayfarers and tap your toes as you rock out with your boom box out. Hipsters everywhere can playfully congregate at their closest Urban Outfitters to hear this album blasted in every showroom.

Goldfrapp’s collection of sounds, though vintage, does semi-successfully convert to a well put-together modern album. Gregory’s composing skills combined with Goldfrapp’s soft vocals create a dreamy, poppy album, but also one that lacks staying power. The album is barely distinct in that it sounds like a toned-down Madonna performance. The duo tries to glide back into its electronica roots (after veering away in their fourth album, 2008’s Seventh Tree) and with Head First they do so quite artfully. Although Goldfrapp is back to its traditional tone, it seems as if the band is afraid to sound original.

Time travel has been compacted into a forty-minute journey back to dancercise, roller-skates and spandex hip-huggers. Goldfrapp’s Head First allows listeners to voyage through other dimensions — no matter what those crazy scientists say.

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