A celebration of the LP, the long-player, the album music format. Reviews, recommendations and discussion.

Halcyon – Ellie Goulding (2012)


This weeks album out of the hat was Halcyon by Ellie Goulding. Not my regular kind of listening but this earned it’s place on the list thanks to an impressive recent tv performance which left me intrigued as to what the rest of the record might sound like.

What I was hoping for was a mix of electronic pop with folky undertones, what I feared was that it may simply be chart fodder dance with the-louder-the-better vocals. So which if either was closer to the mark?

The album starts of strongly enough with the impressive Don’t Say A Word, an interesting piece of dance based pop which sets up a nice opening half. Both My Blood and Only You are just what I was hoping this record would be, layered, intelligent songs which get better with repeated listening. These tracks show some serious talent and justify some of the hype that Ellie received at the very start of her career.

Slotted between these two standout tracks is the slightly less impressive Anything Could Happen, not bad but ultimately a little unsatisfying, what you hear on the first listen is probably all you’re ever going to get.

The second half of the album is a far more mixed bag. A couple of enjoyable ballads (Joy, I Know You Care) allow the vocals to come to the fore and make a nice contrast with what has gone before. But there are also some pretty bland, throwaway tracks (Figure 8, Hanging On, Dead In The Water). The less said about the Calvin Harris track at the end the better, though thankfully it is officially a bonus track and at AllAboutTheAlbum we’re not interested in bonus tracks just the original album tracklisting (but just so you know it’s his usual emotion-free electronic noodling rubbish…..avoid).

One late track infuriates me beyond reason. Atlantis has wonderful verses with wispy high vocals reminiscent of Cocteau Twins or Mandalay but then you are hit with the most dreadful dance-by-numbers chorus where sadly Eliie thinks the louder she sings the more impressed we’ll be……..I wasn’t.

Saying that what I like most about this record is the vocal performance. Yes, there are moments when the decibels become unnecessary, but when Ellie Goulding reigns that in she has one of the most interesting female voices around at present. It has an intriguing dry, almost chalky sound which I really like, just stop shouting Ellie, you really don’t need to!

It’s fair to say that this isn’t a great album, but it is one that I enjoyed overall, certainly one that will be getting more listens in the future. Ellie Goulding hasn’t made a great record yet, but there is enough in this one to think that she very well might one day.

Don’t Say A Word
My Blood *
Anything Could Happen
Only You *
Figure 8
Hanging On
I know You Care
Dead In The Water

* = Standout Tracks


One comment on “Halcyon – Ellie Goulding (2012)

  1. angrickerson
    January 20, 2013

    i like this record. but skip songs a lot. which is a bad sign. to me a good record is one you enjoy top to bottom. i hate #10 and get pissed when i forget to skip it.

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This entry was posted on January 13, 2013 by in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
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