Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory took two years out to make their sixth album after reportedly feeling rushed by their record label on 2010's desultory Head First. The difference is appreciable. Tales of Us is Goldfrapp in quiet, reflective mode: instead of foot-stomping electro-pop, we get slow, dreamy mood pieces with spare instrumentation and occasional orchestral flourishes. Lead single Drew begins with a gently plucked guitar and ends up channelling Lee Hazlewood. Each song is presented as a character sketch, and while the stories are impressionistic, often opaque, they feel richly textured: they live and breathe. That extra time was worth taking.
Killian Fox writes about the arts, food, travel and science for the Observer. He won a British Journalism Award in 2020