Saturday, May 9, 2009

Early Reviews: Heartbreak

from here -

Edward Okulicz:
Bosh goes posh! Delightfully refined and proper yet unstoppably camp, about as nuanced as a brick to the face and the breakdown - epic in the club mix - is still pretty satisfying in the radio version. Essentially, there are few things in the world as fantastic as Sophie Ellis-Bextor in full disco diva strop mode, except perhaps brilliantly mindless songs that make you want to go out and take too much… Sudafed.

Jonathan Bradley: Sophie Ellis-Bextor reinvents classic British reserve as dancefloor abandon, cloaking her emotional frailty in pure movement. Here, dance is a way for her to retain, rather than escape, her aristocratic poise; apart from a slight quaver in her vocal, the titular heartbreak only appears in the aching synth pulse and Ellis-Bextor’s numbly distant chorus. Tears and tantrums are for commoners; the well-bred hit the disco.

Andrew Brennan: The individual parts are so ace: Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s inimitable voice, the Freemasons’s controlled steamrolling synth, the single words repeating, the vocal treatment when she sings “with. each. step.” at 1:47, the build at 2:56 that blows my mind… Altogether it’s transcendent, much more than the sum of its parts, and I want to hear it again and again for the rest of time, or at least for the rest of the summer.

Keane Tzong: La Bex is in fine form here: “Dahncer, dahncer”, and later, “ahnswer, ahnswer” leave no doubt that her beloved RP’s intact, and the rest of her vocals are a very well-executed blend of icy and insistent. Simultaneously, Freemasons toss elements that sound like everything else they’ve ever done, only better, into this song. The resulting climax is a string-fueled breakdown layered over percussive, emphatic breath sounds, and then it’s right back into that brilliant chorus.

Alex Macpherson: The “crying at the discotheque” aesthetic is always one with the potential for greatness, but it’s also such a cliché now that you won’t tap that with a track as deliberate as this, a singer as arch as Ellis-Bextor or a beat as hackneyed as the one which Freemasons are trotting out yet again.

Rodney J. Greene: The libretto is just as tortured as the title suggests (rhymes with “keep my heart beating faster”), and the beats feel rigid, like they haven’t been given enough time to stretch.

Michaelangelo Matos: I, too, remember the glory days of Hed Kandi Records.

Hillary Brown: Kind of leftover Donna Summer with the woman power stripped out, innit?

Martin Skidmore: I’ve never really got on with Sophie - something about the posh accent, I think, especially on ‘ah’ sounds - but she has done very well on the odd dance number, and this sounds like another winner. Pumping, propulsive electro-house, something like a warmer Moroder, and pretty irresistible - could easily be the kind of record to start the summer early. She’s only had one top ten hit in the last five years, but this could come close to matching ‘Groovejet’ for success.

Doug Robertson: Is “Ellis-Bextor-ishly” a verb yet? It should be. Here Sophie once again gives us her slightly bored, boarding school enunciation over a decent enough dance track and once again comes up with something that isn’t quite as good as it should be or, indeed, thinks it is. Pleasant, but that’s hardly the adjective you want attached to your song on the latest Ministry of Sound advert, is it?

Martin Kavka: The retro-disco Freemasons formula does work; I’m actually quite shocked by the effectiveness of the simple series of ascending three-note figures that make up the “violin solo.” But I’m extremely saddened by the lyric, in which Sophie goes to the dancefloor for the confidence that she can “do it alone” after the end of some relationship. Dance. Floors. Are. Not. About. Being. Alone. They are prolegomenas to sex, not substitutes for it. It’s this kind of attitude that kills club culture, and those who express it should be shunned with the same passion with which we shun those who torture.

Ian Mathers: Ellis-Bextor’s voice continues to be a very love-it-or-hate-it proposition, but the Freemasons aren’t exactly giving her much to work with. The production is pretty generic, and the chorus remains stubbornly earthbound. A frustrating waste of potential.

David Raposa: Sophie glides effortlessly through the verses like the enchanting disco wisp she is, but can’t get out of her own way during the chorus; the Freemasons’ pro-forma oompa-loompa doesn’t lack for glamour or glitter, but it’s not nearly robust enough to help this track regain its footing.

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