LondonNet Music Guide

Imogen Heap: Speak For Yourself

Megaphonic Records
July 18th 2005 (UK)

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Hide & Seek video (WMP): hi / low

What She Says
Imogen Heap's long awaited solo effort proves strong and simple...

Imogen HeapSince her stop-in-your-tracks 2002 Frou Frou release, Details, Imogen Heap has been growing on the radar of indie, rock, pop and electronica fans alike. It may have something to do with her immaculate production, the collaboration of Guy Sigsworth, but it most likely rests in the pale, haunting pallor of her voice.

The 2005 release of her long-winded and hard won solo album, Speak For Yourself, sees Heap burgeoning with flavour and inspiration: her baleful single Let Go appeared in Zach Braff's critically acclaimed film Garden State, and Hide and Seek, from Speak For Yourself, was the billowing epitaph to the second season of the musically high-brow TV drama, The OC.

It wasn't without relatively high expectations, then, that Speak For Yourself was released, especially since she produced the album over a two year period, nearly by herself, in a teeny little loft studio.

Thankfully, Speak For Yourself vanquishes any inkling of doubt in either Heap's music or style. Headlock winds Heap's signature croon around a tappy staccato pulse, with some oompa-loompah character burping out background vocals. Goodnight and Go and Loose Ends are probably the albums poppiest tracks, although these still burst with Heap's mingling layers of electronica. Have You Got It In You, hearkens back the most to Details, although it simmers in the added edge of Heap's self-production.

I Am In Love With You is irresistible: deadly simple and surprisingly sophisticated, while The Moment I Said It warms slowly and effortlessly. The winner of this album is, of course, Hide and Seek, a coarse and mirrored a capella proclamation, and a testament to Heap's wide vocal, musical and production abilities. This is the kind of track that you stay in your car to finish, the kind that makes you stop what you're doing and stare into the stereo. And Heap has a knack for these kinds of things: Details' Let Go caused a number of short immobilisations and fits of memory lapse.

What brings Imogen Heap her well-deserved acclaim is an uncompromising style and a unique understanding of sound. Speak For Yourself not only adds repute to an already remarkable discography, but builds into her musical geology, in her own way: layer upon layer of sound.

Megan M. Retka

Upcoming gig tickets >>
Bush Hall gig review >>
Interview with Imogen Heap >>
Buy Speak For Yourself at Amazon.co.uk >>
Hide & Seek video (WMP): hi / low