Whether intentional or not Imogen Heap’s third solo release Ellipse is highly influenced by 90s female pop artists. Heap’s vocals are often reminiscent of such singers as Alanis Morissette, Paula Cole and Enya. The chorus of the opening track “First Train Home” sounds very similar to the Donna Lewis hit “I Love You Always Forever” as Heap instead sings “first train home, I’ve got to get on it.” The song “Swoon” would have fit comfortably on an Ace of Base album. As obvious as these influences are and as much as they serve to provide a catchy more accessible sound, Heap’s unique brand of electronic music remains intact. Ellipse is full of bleeps and bloops, vocal effects, and synth beats that flow from danceable to ethereal. However, the album does suffer from over-production, especially an over use of vocal effects.
Lyrically, the album has a less angry “Jagged Little Pill” feel to it, exploring the ins and outs of a romantic relationship. Heap is cleaver at times, but occasionally comes off as cheesy. The chorus of “Bad Body Double” is juvenile while the chorus of “Half Life” which proclaims, “It’s a half life, with you as my quarterback, It’s a daft life” is just silly.
Imogen Heap is definitely a talented artist and musician, unfortunately, “Ellipse” often falls flat. With that said, there are still some strong moments here and will likely appeal to fans of Heap’s music. Some stand out tracks include “Tidal,” “Between the Sheets” and “2-1.”
Follow the link to hear Ellipse for yourself and let me know what you think.