Album Review: Imogen Heap - Speak For Yourself

Following BlackPlastic's earlier rant about the state of music marketing with regards to Imogen Heap it looks like some things do change - Imogen's album is set to get a re-release, this time with the backing of major label, Song BMG.

Fair enough then. Doesn't explain why it wasn't picked up by a big label earlier (like, 12 months earlier...) but there we go... Nothing has changed in the structure, content or presentation of Speak For Yourself, but if you aren't one of the lucky few that picked up a copy originally that's unlikely to be a problem.

'Headlock', used in a recent Cadbury's ad, kicks things off with like and delicate music box melodies before a heavy (for Imogen Heap) bassline kicks in and lets the chorus take off. Current single 'Goodnight and Go' comes next (this time in its original form rather than the remixed radio edit available as a single), followed by 'Have You Got It In You?', which sounds, unsurprisingly, very much like Heap's other project, Frou Frou.

On a slightly different note is 'Loose Ends', featuring an almost UK garage-like bassline combined with gentle vocals, and the show-stopping 'Hide and Seek', which sounds like it was recorded with virtually nothing but Imogen's voice and some electronic manipulation. 'Clear The Area' is catchy and incessant. Things get a rocking edge to them for the heavier 'Daylight Robbery' and then return to the snappy drums and rolling bass of the first half of the album for 'The Walk' which builds to a wonderful climax.

'Just For Now' and 'I Am In Love With You' paint a picture of the work involved in relationships, a theme that seems to run through the course of much of the album, and before you know it your have arrived at the penultimate track, 'Closing In', a relatively grandiose affair incorporating a wandering piano and the use of strings. Last track 'The Moment I Said It' is heartbreakingly honest, a brutal analysis of a relationship on the verge of turning sour, and it is impossible not to feel empathy.

On Speak For Yourself Heap expresses a refreshing ready-ness to mess with her sound, over-dubbing vocals seemingly to infinity in some places whilst incorporating the sounds of trains passing by (on 'Hide and Seek') and sniffs (on 'Just For Now') not only into her music but her subject matter too. It is a little too easy to lump Imogen Heap in with the KT Tunstalls and Katie Melluas of this world but to the well-informed there is a clear difference - the song writing and do-it-yourself attitude on display here is atestamentt to Imogen's abilities.