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Imogen Heap Sparks (Megaphonic Records)

Best known for her uncategorisable 2005 song Hide And Seek, which subsequently popped up in the soundtracks for a rash of films and TV programmes, Londoner Imogen Heap also has a Grammy Award to her name and, since completion of this fourth album, several more stamps in her passport:

like The Eurythmics before her, she really has travelled the world and the seven seas in pursuit of the sounds and influences that make up Sparks. The results are excellent, another collection of songs highlighting her lyrical bite and magpie-like compositional approach to the gathering and use of real-life audio samples. "I've stopped eating bread and cheese - and I love cheese," she whispers on The Listening Chair, an a capella run-through of her life so far (though a capella in Heap's hands means swooshy, multi-tracked and vocoder-heavy). The plan is to update it every seven years with a minute of new material. It's a neat idea, well executed so far. It isn't easy to make radio-friendly electropop with brains, but Imogen Heap manages it.

Barry Didcock

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Arts and Entertainment

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