I’m glad it was grey and drizzly when I listened to this. It seems to suit 'Speak for Yourself', which at its best draws you into an intimate and vulnerable atmosphere of “low light mercury mornings”, peering into people’s windows and imagining the lives inside.
Despite Imogen Heap’s mastery of fluid dynamics, the strongest songs are the simplest productions. Especially The OC approved “Hide & Seek” where minimalism is taken to the extreme of a couple of vocal tracks and a vocoder or the delicately piano-brushed closer “The Moment I Said It”. These sound infinitely more assured than “Goodnight And Go” whose watching-someone-do-a-Rubik’s-cube shape changing overwhelms the song (and the less said about Jeff Beck’s guitar solo the better).
At points the cascading harmony breakdowns and low swirling strings sound like an updated 'The Hounds Of Love'. Unlike Kate Bush’s proggy pastorals though, Imogen Heap uses these touches to evoke a world of smoke alarms and stagnating in front of the TV.
As with most records made from just one person’s vision, it is inconsistent, occasionally guilty of self-indulgence on one side and borderline Didoism on the other. However, at its core, 'Speak for Yourself' is inventive and genuinely captivating.
8Julian Ridgway's Score