Each song on Tales of Us, the forthcoming record by British electro-pop group and James Bond soundtrack enthusiasts Goldfrapp, is named after a person (so, “Jo,” “Annabel,” “Ulla,” etc.) The first of these to surface is “Drew,” but it’s hard to parse exactly who Drew might be from watching this new video. In the clip, directed by Lisa Gunning (who shot ‘Frapp’s “Yellow Halo” video entirely on an iPhone), frontwoman Alison Goldfrapp floats through a ghostlike, black-and-white twilight zone where she caresses and flirts with a trio of nudists in a mansion only to have them disappear around her — sort of like an arty take on The Others, as imagined by Ryan McGinley.
But while the video seems to obscure the song’s meaning, it works perfectly with the track’s bubbly piano line, typically Bond-like strings and, of course, breathy vocals recalling watching boats and planes by a lake with the titular character. When orchestral cellos and basses saw at low, heavy notes, the camera shifts to two sets of naked men’s feet running up a staircase only to disappear and show the singer descending the same stairs. A naked woman guides Alison out of the mansion, where a naked man later holds her from behind, showing her how to work a remote-control plane. Then there are scenes of the singer walking alone through an empty palatial hallway. And so the duality goes, with shots of her loneliness intertwining with the threesome’s threesoming (pillow fights, entwined limbs, forest frolics, and so on), sometimes intersecting with the singer acting as a voyeur until the song’s climax. And because Goldfrapp’s music is innately sensual, it never really crosses over into softcore porn. Anything more might be too much, but judging from the way Goldfrapp build a gentle crescendo throughout the song, they’re in it for the big picture anyway, which is good for the rest of the album.
The Story of Us arrives September 10 via Mute.