Imogen Heap Speak For Yourself

After garnering a fairly strong cult following as one half of electronic duo Frou Frou with partner and some-time Bjork collaborator Guy Sigsworth, and a recent side stint as vocal producer for Britney, singer Imogen Heap turns back to her solo work in a surprising demonstration of artistic growth. Though a decidedly pop record, Speak For Yourself finds a number of ways to challenge listeners without alienating them, as Heap tweaks, layers, and manipulates each sound so that nothing is a simply as it appears. The vocoder effect on and the a cappella "Hide & Seek”, and her creatively diced up vocal harmonics on "Have You Got It In You?” give the rather common singer tons of extra mileage, while Heaps attention to detail in electronic colouring and choice of percussive sounds means there’s always something interesting going on. This is truly felt on "The Walk,” with its gusts of coarse, synthesised wind blowing in through the track, distorting the break beat and fuzzy guitar noise that forms the song’s base. The Sigsworth influence in Heap’s use of harp and strings is undeniable, and guitar hero Jeff Beck’s touches on "Goodnight and Go” show the lengths to which Heap will go for the sake of experimentation. (Sony BMG)