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SOPHIE ELLIS BEXTOR - "Trip The Light Fantastic"   Print  E-mail 
Written by Mark Reed  
Tuesday, 05 June 2007

"This commits the greatest sin of any pop music - it bores the listener with a formless mass of identikit, dull music devoid of personality."


Four years is a long time in music. Four years is all the time it took for The Smiths as a recording act to venture from "This Charming Man" to "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before." In the past four years, Sophie Ellis-Bextor has taken a  hiatus from pop. Whereas the world around her has moved on, she has barely changed. And now, for the first time, her retro styling is merely dated, her material is dull and boring, and the album as a whole merges into one bland mass of bloodless nothingness.


"Trip The Light Fantastic", her third album, is, sadly, at best a competent pop record. There's nothing on here to match either the sonic vitality of the retro-styled "Shoot From The Hip" and "Read My Lips" : this is the sound of someone treading water and failing to stamp an identity on some generic pop material. Every song sounds exactly the same with similar tempos, keys, styles, and become one lumpen stodge of Okish pop music. There's no musical variety and thus, the record fast becomes a boring experience - let alone any compelling reason to give this identikit, identityless sound a second listen.


It's not all bad - though it does commit the sin of pop by being forgettable. There's nothing here as memorable as even a lesser S-Club 7 song. Lead single "Catch You" and follow up "Me And My Imagination" are passable pop songs, but ultimately, there's nothing on the record that allows Bextor to reveal her personality (or even demonstrate that she has one). She coolly sings over largely unexceptional backings that sound as if they could have come from anytime since 1984 onwards, and with one-dimensional backings and the lacking material itself, "Trip The Light Fantastic" is not a patch on her other two records, nor worth the 4 year wait.


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