Sophie Ellis Bextor Trip The Light Fantastic Review

Released 2007.  

BBC Review

Sophie’s certainly made the pop record she wants to, and if it all sounds a tad 2002...

Talia Kraines 2007

Great pop albums are few and far between, but after a three year break there were great hopes from the new album from the poshest girl in pop – Sophie Ellis Bextor.

With her indie days well and truly behind her, the much maligned Sophie has always been totally happy to embrace her new twinkly world. What album could you name that ends with a grotesquely camp, yet sassy, homage to 50s sci-fi courtesy of the B52s? In fact it’s difficult to expect anything but glistening disco-pop from an album with a title such as Trip The Light Fantastic almost screaming out AMAZING in sparkly, flashing pink letters.

While “Catch You” gave us a grittier Sophie, and the sprightly “Me & My Imagination” recalled days of "Read My Lips" Sophie, disco is the overriding sound here. Reminiscent of Pet Shop Boys, the staccato “New York City Lights” and the hip shaking “If I Can’t Dance” transport us to a world where the glitter ball never stops spinning. But if you thought they weren’t pushing pop to outrageous limits enough, “China Heart” is literally one of the most ridiculous songs we have ever heard. Pulsating with synths Giorgio Moroder would be proud of, it reminds you of “I Feel Love” coupled with a dark, futuristic overtone.

And while you may expect tracks from pop royalty such as Xenomania and Hannah Robinson to stand out, it’s actually the two very different songs contributed by Dan Gillespie-Sells of The Feeling that soar high above the rest. Accomplished at writing the perfect feel-good hit for his own band, Dan’s lite-reggae “Only One” and the uplifting “Love Is Here” leave us with the feeling that Sophie’s “China Heart” might be warming, and that despite the fact that we’ve no doubt they were written together over a Royal Doulton pot of tea, Sophie was actually having fun while singing them. The radio friendly “Love Is Here” even has a trademark Feeling guitar solo and has summer hit written all over it.

Whether there is room for such a manicured, glossy pop star in the musical landscape of 2007 is a different matter. Sophie’s certainly made the pop record she wants to, and if it all sounds a tad 2002 then so be it. Good luck to her.

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