The past couple of years have produced a bumper crop of newly minted singing/songwriting women of every stripe, from pop chanteuses with serious chart aspirations to rock chicks with chops and bravado. Imogen Heap is not one of them. The Brit worked with Acacia in the mid-’90s, released her debut solo album, i Megaphone, in 1998, and its follow-up, Speak for Yourself, seven years later.
On her third solo album, Ellipse, Heap cooks up a pop stew that’s both visceral and ethereal. On the album’s lead-off, “First Train Home,” she crafts a beat-driven track that recalls the soul of Sarah McLachlan, the spirit of Annie Lennox, and the cerebral pulse of Beth Orton. Heap seamlessly blends pop drive, dance beats, and electronic atmospherics without overstating her case, which may explain why she has a legion of fans but fairly unremarkable sales figures. While there may not be a breakout hit on Ellipse, Heap has fashioned an impressive set of songs.