Vocal harmonies and rhythms, choppy drums and a distinct quaintness to every track is all that Imogen Heap seems to be good at, but that might not be the worst thing in the world.
First Train Home, the opening track of her latest album, Ellipse, truthfully, sounds like a track that would probably pass you by if you didn’t pay attention to it – there’s nothing that tears you away from the gripe of daily life, the track has almost no impact or melody that you can really pick up on, and overall, it’s a relatively uninteresting song. Imogen Heap, fortunately, has never really wanted to do anything but write and enjoy music, and that’s reflected here – First Train Home is a track you can whack on your mp3 player, sit back and enjoy. It’s as simple as that, perhaps to the point where it’s actually quite bland. But still, if you like happy, cheery music, there’s no harm done here – and I can’t really think of anything else to say about this track.
The John Hopkins remix on the B-Side of the single, however, really is the track that First Train Home was meant to be. The whole thing feels so heart-wrenching – the broken pads in the introduction, the incredible vocal effects that scream subtlety. Imogen’s angelic voice is complimented with a nearly-orchestral yet simple backing – think a falling-in-love moment – softest touches, fragile, emotive. Hopkins track structure feels as if it was written solely to counteract the vocal line rather than taking to any set structure – the words almost seem irrelevant, the tone and emotion and rhythm of her voice being all that matters to the track, the instruments and Imogen working in perfect harmony. John’s remix ends with the same pads it begins with, as if the song were just one large gradient – the whole thing really is a collage rather than a painting, but that’s where the charm lies. It’s a beautiful track, and definitely one to check out.