Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Imogen Heap
I, Megaphone
Rating: 4/5
Look, I know I promised you some punk reviews, but I'm not done digesting Shinobu's Strange Spring Air or colossal Exhaustive, Exhaustive yet, and I've not yet got Lemuria's Pebble in the post, so. I'll probably add some more BTMI! stuff in the next couple of days, but I gave my handwritten Keep Your Heart review to a friend's blog, so yeah, you get an Imogen Heap review. 

Did I also mention that I finally have the masters for Metamusic's World to Come EP on my "desk"? Yeah, well it's a fucking incredible EP, and that's another reason why I'm feeling a little distracted from my punk duties. Sadly, the new Radiohead record hasn't distracted me at all, but that's another story. In Rainbows is £9.99 (inc delivery) on wax over at HMV.com now, so maybe you want to get that instead. Just sayin'. 

ANYWAY, I'm going to talk about Imogen Heap. I've seen her live three or four (I think the former) times in the last year, and she's pretty much the most incredible performer out there right now. It was therefore with some trepidation that I finally buckled and actually bought myself an album, unsure as to whether the album experience would stand up on its own without the curiosities of her live show. Ellipse was the obvious choice, as for some reason Speak for Yourself appears to be out of print (what the fuck?). 

Opening on 'First Train Home', the best cut on the record, the listener is dealt some Cocteaus-ish wails before the song resolves into pleasantly driving electronica, a trait shared with other high-water mark, the dramatic 'Tidal' (though anybody who's seen her live can't help but conclude that it's poorer for the lack of a keytar solo). Though the more ballad-like 'Wait it Out' and 'Swoon' are probably what some people most appreciate about Heap, that's not what I'm here for; the beat-boxing and a cappella vocal antics of 'Earth', intricate pop of 'Bad Body Double' or orchestral sweep (yes I am a hack) of '2-1' are what keep me tuned in. Definitely worthy of a mention is 'Between Sheets', which firmly breaks the pattern of the rest of the record- live, I'm ambivalent towards it, but on the record it's lush, intimate and sickeningly sweet. Though the instrumentation is what seals the deal, the lyrics wouldn't be out of place on a Lemuria record, and that's definitely no bad thing. 

Verdict: it was never going to be as good as Imogen Heap's live show but it's fucking great anyway, end of.

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