Album Review: Sophie Ellis-Bextor, ‘Trip the Light Fantastic’

Album Review: Sophie Ellis-Bextor, ‘Trip the Light Fantastic’

As inferred from the title, Ellis-Bextor spends most of the record in the dance-pop arena. It's a perfect match with her distinctive voice, which retains a mannered Brit accent, and she fitfully preens and pouts to great effect

Sophie Ellis-Bextor (Supplied publicity photo, 2007)

British pop star Sophie Ellis-Bextor took almost four years to follow up her sophomore release Shoot from the Hip, but it was time well spent as Trip the Light Fantastic is even better than its predecessor.

As inferred from the title, Ellis-Bextor spends most of the record in the dance-pop arena. It’s a match with her distinctive voice, which retains a mannered Brit accent, as she fitfully preens and pouts to great effect throughout Fantastic.

Whether she’s out stalking (the first single “Catch You”), playing hard to get (“Me and My Imagination”) or lamenting that one “Can’t Have it All,” Ellis-Bextor brings a posh sophistication to the standard love-and-relationship themes explored on Fantastic.

Mostly it’s a consistently great affair, but once the album loses its disco ball glitter production (a sound that peaks with the brilliant “China Heart”) and begins to favour blander pop-rock balladry (like in “The Distance Between Us” and “What We Have Started”) does Fantastic ever become dull. But despite some valleys, overall, Trip the Light Fantastic is one of the year’s best pop records.