With “Garden State’s” release last year, teenagers clung to Frou Frou’s “Let Go” off the soundtrack to symbolize their collective disillusionment. The voice behind this sensation, Imogen Heap, did it again with “Hide and Seek,” a song off her new album, Speak for Yourself, that snuck its way onto the always sugary, always trendy “The O.C.” soundtrack. Her soothingly emotional voice serves the purpose of “The O.C.” well as it drifts between anxiety and relief.
The album’s duality lies in the tension between the drum machine’s thumping dance beats and the light ambiance created by piano, harps and looped vocal harmonies. Heap’s voice waxes and wanes as it floats above the grounded bass.
The album’s trademark is the mixture of her computer-altered, resonating voice and the falsetto that fills in the songs’ gaps of pounding rhythms. She pays close attention to the background sounds – she bangs jewel cases against carpet tubes on “Closing In” and uses guest Jeff Beck on “Goodnight and Go” for chaotic runs on the guitar.
Although the complexity can be greatly appreciated, the constant jolting from the dappling strokes of harp to the gut-vibrating beats on “Headlock” leaves the listener unsettled. This becomes a formula for most of her songs. Heap rarely reaches a peak, constantly falling back upon trite melodies and shrill moans and ultimately creates nothing more than a collection of slightly catchy and complex songs.
MUSIC REVIEW: 2 1/2 OUT OF 5 STARS