After the Sound of 2010 win and the absurd pre-emptive Brit award, Ellie Goulding has seemed rather embarrassed by all the fuss - you get the sense of a beleaguered music industry willing an instant star out of someone who'd rather have built a career more organically. So it's not entirely her fault that this debut album doesn't live up to the hype. But with writing credits on all of the songs, she has to shoulder some of it.
Lights is a perfectly listenable soufflé of a record, and at just 35 minutes it hardly outstays its welcome, but there's none of the brio and personality that you get on Marina's *The Family Jewels* - an album superior in every department. And you might forgive a woman in her early twenties for having nothing very interesting to say, were it not for the even younger Laura Marling making people twice her age sound immature. Her faux-naif diction winds me up, too! This just isn't the knockout it needed to be.