Ice On The Dune
Pop's history is full of great break-up albums. This isn't one of them.
Ellie Goulding has been letting it be known that this follow-up to her three-million-selling debut album, Lights, is a far darker and more troubled record, composed and recorded in the shadow of her split from Radio 1 DJ Greg James.
This may well be the case, but any subtle shards of heartbreak and emotional nuances it may contain are obliterated beneath the pagan wails, tribal drumming and heavy-handed production of an album that even Florence Welch might consider overly bombastic.
Possibly influenced by her new beau, Skrillex, Goulding has abandoned the spectral folk-pop of her lauded debut in favour of jagged, overwrought electro-pop, but simply lacks the songs and personality to carry it off. Overblown opuses such as Don't Say A Word and My Blood sound forced, inauthentic and terminally unconvincing.
A wearying album gels and sparks only once, on rousing recent single Anything Can Happen, but mostly Halcyon is the sound of a winsome girl-next-door type trying way, way too hard to convince us that she has a dark side. Frankly, we would prefer it if she had some tunes.