After the massive success of 2010’s Lights, Ellie Goulding’s second album should be a deal-closer for those still on the fence. Halycon teeters close to making a bold statement on occasion (you wonder whether dubstep DJ boyfriend Skrillex had input on the likes of zooming club banger Figure 8). Ultimately, though, it plays it a little safe, following the same formulaof synthesised pop with big choruses (My Blood) and orchestral ballads (Dead in the Water) as Goulding’s debut.
That’s perfectly fine; there’s still a lot to like here, such as the swirling Passion Pit-aping Only You, while Atlantis’s jittery falsetto and euphoric chorus recalls Jónsi in parts. Goulding’s lyric sheet tends to be a tad overwrought at times, but there’s enough here to suggest that album No 3 could be special. elliegoulding.com
Download tracks:Figure 8, Only You