on 23 January 2014
This album has really brightened a dark January. It's a simply lovely, slightly melancholy change of pace for the fabulous SEB. Her voice has never sounded as fabulous as it does on this collection of stripped-back tracks. Her song-writing collaboration with Ed Harcourt has paid creative dividends, every song here is a memorable keeper. I won't mind if Sophie returns to more dance-oriented pop for her next album, but this is certainly a lovely change of pace in the meantime. Heartily recommended for fans and newcomers alike. I don't often buy CDs these day, opting more often for the convenience of downloading, but I'm very happy to add this one to my collection. I hope it's a huge success for Sophie!
on 22 January 2014
I bought the special booklet version, the photos and the packaging are very beautiful.
The songs are good, not the usual dance/electro feel, but great pop music for grown ups. Her voice is very distinctive and it shines on balads like Young Blood and Runaway Daydreamer.
The opening track, Birth of a Nation, is an epic, eastern feel powerhouse, love it.
This is a new direction for Sophie, and it truly deserves praise.
on 24 January 2014
I was surprised that I loved this album from the first listen, and then wondered why I was so shocked at this major change of departure. I've never been a huge fan of Sophie's, but I did buy her last 2 albums on the strength of their singles and was happy I did so. I had heard that Wanderlust was a major departure, but figured what the hell, it's only 11 songs and not a great deal out of my life.
What is not surprising is that everything that has been prevalent on Sophie's other albums is also prevalent here, although wrapped up slightly differently. Understated but sing-along, sophisticated melodies coupled with witty, observant lyrics and Sophie's oh-so-british style of singing. This is typical Sophie, but with all the posturing dance beats and highly produced synth sounds stripped away. It's really no different, just......different.
It oozes a yearning for another, simpler time, and perhaps that's what the 'Wanderlust' of the title suggests. I won't go into all the tracks, but the lead-off single, Young Blood, gives me goosebumps every time I hear it, and the slow waltz of Love is a Camera changing into a manically charged, Romanian Gypsy clap-along that gets faster and faster until you feel giddy always gets me smiling and skipping round the floor. But every song here is a class act all it's own. I just wish it was summer so I could lie in a hay field and feel the sun on my face whilst listening to these gems.
on 23 March 2014
To my mind, and ear, this takes me back to the first time I listened to Sophie fronting The Audience. I have never warmed to the pop-centric Sophie, so when I chanced a listen to the preview snippets of the tracks from this album I found myself rapidly falling in the love.
Her voice remains a soothing whisper on the ear, singing lyrics with a melancholic angle - occasionally brightened by more upbeat ditties - like 13 Little Dolls. I don't mind that break in tone at all - and now that I have listened to the whole album in full, there's nothing here I don't like. Sometimes I have to listen to an album more than once to make a call on what works and what runs harsh against my nerves - but, I'm supremely satisfied.
Set alongside The Audience, for sure, and angled to become one of my favourites of 2014.
Album five, or so, and Sophie Ellis Bextor, once a delicate indie waif turned disco pop strumpet goes for Phase Two : inexplicably huge in former Communist states, Sophie has taken a left turn creatively, teaming up with Ed Harcourt, going the self-funded indie route, and creating a record that has a lot more in common with her time in 2nd Division Britpoppers Theaudience than her past decade as a superior, aloof, dance queen, “Wanderlust” explores that very theory musically. From the opening track - “Birth Of An Empire” - the stall is set : this is a new world, made of balilakas, of unusual/Eastern tunings, galloping rhythms, choral backing vocals, the kind of “world” music that would actually terrify peers who see world music as being merely the continent of Africa, here Bextor describes a world of worldly, experienced music, of intricate love songs, her voice – thin and intimate, peculiarly British in ways I cannot fully understand, are built on cinematic, near Bondian songs of no small drama and large ambition. “Until The Stars Collide” may sound trite, but listen to it, experience the song, which is longer than its 3.38s length might suggest, because of the power inside (is “Brighton Rock” really only 93 minutes?), and then followup track “Runaway Dreamer” which is another grand song. Whilst at first, those of us who might have expected another album of intelligent electronic pop music may be disappointed, instead what we have here is an artistic maturity, an evolution, a reflection of another side of the artistic personality which has previously been dormant, and instead sees a strong and bold new step with a record of superior pop music designed not just to be sold in supermarkets but also to be taken to heart and loved by us in all our facets, mothers, fathers, lovers, children, husbands, wives, scientists and social workers, music for all of us. No matter who we are and how we live, each of us are the same underneath, the same hopes and ideals, to be loved, to be happy, to conquer our enemies, crush them and hear the lamentation of their women. (Ok, not everyone is Conan The Barbarian), But all of us the same, yet different, and all of these songs mean something. Artistically this is a new direction, a brave new moment, and a success on that count.
on 24 January 2014
I listened to some snippets from the samples but that does not do the songs justice, you have to listen to them in full. It really is a very good album, with a more folk/rock feel that suits her voice well...
I loved Make a scene also but this offering is atmospheric, slightly edgy and deeper. It may sound funny but I actually don't know why I like it, I just do and am delighted to see it at number 4 on the midweek charts..
Not sure of the favorite song yet - certainly Young Blood is good but the opening track 'empire' and the more folk/eastern sounding songs have a real hook..
Well done Sophie, really enjoying this...