Goulding is back with her second studio album Halcyon; appropriately named considering some of the tracks in this one! I half-expected to hear a remixed version of whale-song combined with drums and she didn’t disappoint. In almost every song Goulding uses her own voice as an instrument to create the essential tone which I did find amusing at first with her single ‘Anything Could Happen‘, but after a while it sadly becomes annoying and unnecessary.
Of course there are some potentially good songs in this album, such as ‘My Blood’, which combines different moods by the light accompaniment of a guitar and a piano, helping to show off her range and the unique sound of her voice. I honestly feel this song will be a hit-to-come from how catchy it is and by its unusual sound, like a combination of Enya and Coldplay (doesn’t sound like a good mix, but trust me it works).
The album’s title song ‘Halcyon’ is, to put it nicely, a bit of a let-down. Following ‘Anything Could Happen’ and ‘My Blood’ it seems boring; her voice is barely pushed and the instrumental seems to be guitars combined with a slow ice-cream truck melody. Ironically, Goulding repeats the words “It’s gonna be better” over and over towards the end, leaving me in constant anticipation and hoping the next track might wake me up.
Thankfully, the following song ‘Figure 8’ is much more complex and sounds like real music. It builds up to a catchy chorus, which may overuse the electro a bit towards the end, but again shows a side of Goulding I didn’t know existed. However, the album then seems to drone away until the bitter, but thankful, finish, at which point she seems to be whaling away to different electronic instrumental backgrounds, stabbing in the dark for a hit.
Overall, I would recommend the three singles suggested here, but avoid the others which genuinely caused me to cuddle up in bed with my headphones in and fall asleep. I admire Goulding’s voice and style but this needed more work and less electronic edits, perhaps an attempt to make her music more modern and less like a ballad.