Follow Us on Twitter

Imogen Heap - Speak For Yourself

Imogen Heap, Speak For Yourself

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

IMOGEN Heap is hitherto best known as the female voice of Frou Frou.

Yet she remains something of an enigma in that her talent far outreaches her popularity.

Boasting dream-like vocals that vaguely compare to those of Chrissie Hynde, only better, she is a hugely talented artist who deserves a much wider audience.

Fans of Zach Braff’s movie, Garden State, may be well aware of the power of Imogen’s vocals, given that the Frou Frou track, Let Go, featured prominently towards the end of the film.

While The OC fanclub have embraced the singer ever since her latest solo track, Hide & Seek, featured prominently during the season two finale of the cult US series.

Indeed, one week after it was played-out in the closing sequence Hide And Seek climbed to No.32 in the Official Billboard Hot 100 Download Chart and shot up to no.1 in the iTunes USA Electronic chart.

It’s no less than the artist deserves.

Speak Four Yourself is a mesmerising album, combining a number of styles that are designed to bring out the very best in those delicious vocals.

Every note was written, recorded and produced by Imogen herself using Pro-Tools, some geeky toys and a room full of instruments ranging from a cello to carpet tubes.

Her unique voice was also used as another instrument by layering up and arranging the many vocal parts that intertwine in and around each other.

A classic example of this is the rocky track, The Area, which rates as one of the most energetic on the long-player, sending Imogen’s vocals into soaring highs that reverberate around your ear-drums to scintillating effect.

It is in stark contrast to Hide and Seek, which really strips down the instrumentation to the bare minimum, allowing the vocals to take centre stage and distorting them slightly to create something that is unique, haunting and utterly beguiling.

In stand alone form, it’s emotive enough, yet The OC’s usage guarantees it a wider significance to fans of the series.

The lush melodies that are an integral part of the vocals are rife throughout the happy go-lucky Loose Ends, which owes so much in style to Frou Frou and the electronic post-dance rhythms of super-producer, Guy Sigsworth. It’s quite enchanting.

The Walk is another beauty that played loud in places can genuinely send shivers down the spine, such is the power of Imogen’s immaculate voice.

While opening track, Headlock, is a terrific introduction that showcases both Imogen’s unique voice and her instrumental ambition (she layers the sounds so superbly).

Just occasionally, the album drops off slightly and feels a little experimental, but such moments are few and far between.

When Imogen sings I Am In Love With You, therefore, near the end of proceedings, it’s a sentiment you will want to embrace.

Hers is a voice that’s designed for falling in love with and Speak For Yourself is the perfect afrodisiac.

Track listing:

  1. Headlock
  2. Goodnight & Go
  3. Have You Got It In You?
  4. Loose Ends
  5. Hide & Seek
  6. Clear
  7. The Area
  8. Daylight Robbery
  9. The Walk
  10. Just For Now
  11. I Am In Love With You
  12. Closing In
  13. The Moment I Said It