Ellie Goulding - Halcyon

by Greg Spencer Rating:8 Release Date:2012-10-08

Let's be frank, Ellie Goulding is a UK megastar now. At 20-five-years old, her second album can't come soon enough for her fans. Her debut, Lights, feels like an age ago. Thankfully, she's back with an album which should convince any doubters.

Halcyon with 'Don't Say a Word' which seems like a partial false storm in the sense that it isn't the most interesting of tracks to open with. It's hard to tell if it has more of a 'build up' sensibility about it or if it would be more suited to closing an album. However, following this is 'My Blood' which feels like one of Goulding's best works, if not her best. It has brooding ambience coming out of its ears and the chorus is deceivingly catchy.

It's here that we remember how fantastic Goulding's vocals are. Sure, they're not to everyone's taste but there's no denying the magical quality that flows effortlessly when she sings. 'Anything Can Happen' is a more upbeat and optimistic piece although it does feel a little tired by the end - a massive shame because if the song was a minute shorter it would be fantastic. This song is where the first hint of overproduction comes into the equation too.

Overall, there are a few too many electronic bits thrown in and some songs just feel overdone. If Goulding's voice wasn't so brilliant this could be problem the album could not recover from. However, because of the effervescent quality to her vocals, it doesn't do too much damage. Whether it's the producers fault or her relationship with Sonny Moore, some tracks just lose a little bit of heart, an example of which is the ending to 'Only You', which has Skrillex thumbprints all over it.

Apart from this, the album is a real joy to listen to. 'I Know You Care' is a no-thrills piano ballad which shows that when the production is stripped down, Goulding thrives and the songs benefit. The album ends with 'Dead in the Water', which feels more heartfelt than it actually is. This track just has so much ambience flowing from it that it feels profound.

Halcyon is ultimately plagued by overproduction and some mismanagement, but there's no hiding from the fact that Ellie Goulding has an amazing vocal presence which always seems to outweigh any misdemeanours in the studio.

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