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Imogen Heap - Ellipse

Whilst ‘Ellipse’ seems to lack a ‘Hide and Seek’-like cult song (for which Heap received a Grammy nomination), it is still a superb album which we’re sure will see us through the coming winter months quite sufficiently.

If you’ve been following Imogen Heap on any number of social networking sites, you’ll know that ‘Ellipse’, the hotly awaited follow-up to 2005’s ‘Speak For Yourself’, has been a long time coming. Documenting her progress in vlogs, blogs and tweets, Imogen clearly values her large fan base, keeping them abreast of ‘Ellipse’ from the get-go. For the uneducated, however, Heap once described herself as ‘more Madonna than Guns N’ Roses, more Donnie Darko than Dirty Dancing’ – make of that what you will.

‘Ellipse’ kicks off with ‘First Train Home’, a quaint little number with stunning lyrics from the offset. Opening with, ‘bodies disengage; our mouths are fleshing over’ and highlighting Imogen’s Romford twang beautifully, it sets the bar for the rest of the tracks, all of which are lyrically outstanding. Imogen weaves her truths in intricate circles, tying up the listener and ensuring they stay exactly where they are for the next 45 minutes, of which each is as compelling as the last.

A tentative favourite has to be ‘Aha!’, which combines a haunting melody and racing vocals for that runaway train feel. Another stand out track is ‘The Fire’, which has a more organic feel than the other songs, skipping out a number of the production tricks prominent throughout the rest of ‘Ellipse’. Whilst ‘Speak For Yourself’ and ‘Ellipse’ are not exactly chalk and cheese, there is a considerable amount of audible growth between the two, with the latter having a more adult feel than the sometimes teen-angsty sound of Heap’s previous output (which we’re not saying was a bad thing, we cried as much as you did as our gang on The OC graduated to ‘Speeding Cars’, minutes before Marissa took her last breath).

More Marmite than ‘Speak For Yourself’, ‘Ellipse’ is definitely a grower. Whilst Heap fans will no doubt be pleased with this long-awaited (4 years, to be precise) offering, the unfamiliar will perhaps be left confused, wondering if they’ve missed out on something. In answer to this, yes, you have: eleven years of unadulterated brilliance and raw talent, and yes, you should be ashamed. Whilst ‘Ellipse’ seems to lack a ‘Hide and Seek’-like cult song (for which Heap received a Grammy nomination), it is still a superb album which we’re sure will see us through the coming winter months quite sufficiently.

Tags: Imogen Heap, Reviews, Album Reviews

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