Two years since the release of her first album Lights, Ellie Goulding presents us with new material in the form of second album Halcyon, showcasing a mature and comfortable style from the singer/songwriter.
The majority of the album has a kind of new age/trance-like feel, with each track having a distinct stylistic influence from the likes of dubstep, gospel, and the Middle East, giving Halcyon a multi-cultural, worldly atmosphere. First track Don’t Say A Word even sounds like a film soundtrack with its opening.
Debut single Anything Could Happen brings indie pop to the album, which is then continued by the following track Only You. However, this is short-lived, as vibes rapidly return to that of Goulding’s roots in folk, beautifully demonstrated by title track Halcyon.
Tracks such as Figure 8 and Hanging On (minus Tinie Tempah) have dubstep elements, which many will point as the result of Goulding’s relationship with US dubstep star Skrillex. Hanging On also has an oriental feel to its opening which allows Goulding’s pure soprano vocals to shine through, until a dubstep beat is introduced, giving the track its hit-worthy kick. The Tinie Tempah version is included in this album where a rap element comes as an unexpected turn to the rather mundane second half.
Ritual comes as a nice change towards the end of the album; a slightly faster paced, catchy song, which is the most similar to material from Lights. Another track that catches attention is Without Your Love, which sounds like Goulding put her own vocals to Friendly Fire’s Kiss Of Life.
Goulding really has laid herself bare on Halycon. Although it’s still about her signature voice, it also explores new territory. It will not neccessarily grab you straight away, but in evoking a variety of moods give it a few listens and it will find a way into your heart.