Review of Imogen Heap's album Ellipse
Having received rave reviews last time around with 2005's Speak for Yourself, Imogen Heap re emerges from a 4 year break with new album Ellipse. A recording career that's spanned 11 years, has seen her originally release a solo album (1998's I megaphone) as well as collaborate with Madonna producer Guy Sigsworth for their project Frou Frou. But just as Frou Frou never really got off the ground, Ellipse pretty much suffers the same fate.
Where to start with an album that sounds like its been released 7-8 years too late. Production sounds cheap and seems full of gimmicks from start to finish. So many tracks on Ellipse sounds like they're geared up for being background music for soppy scenes in teen dramas, so it's no surprise to find that past work has been used during an episode of the O.C. These flowery instances are never more evident than in Want It Out with its collection of lyrics about 'time healing everything' and how about 2-1 which croons about 'dying to know what's in your head' which just end up churning out the usual age old clichés of a ballad. As if these lyrics weren't bad enough what's then served up on Bad Body Double is just plain hideous. A song which is basically about looking in the mirror and not liking what you see, provides some of the most cringe worthy lyrics in recent history 'Hi there to my bad body double/I've got bad body double trouble' - 'sometimes I manage to lose her and shake her at a bar or a gym for five minutes' it really is no surprise that this is an original concept.
A search for redeeming features within Ellipse however is no easy task, single First Train Home with its atmospheric intro and fairly likeable chorus is one of very few. Likewise Aha at least offers some energy and intent but its too little too late for an album that couldn't be more irrelevant if it tried.
Just plain dull from start to finish, Ellipse is an album that leaves you with a brand of Starbucks style MOR that harks back to an era of Dido and David Gray, an era that I'm sure nobody wants to return to any time soon.
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