Ellie Goulding Academy 7/10
CURRENTLY riding a tidal wave of commercial success, Ellie Goulding began her short string of UK December live dates at the Academy – a venue considered to be fairly local for the Hereford-born songstress – in support of second release Halcyon.
Beginning with album-opener Don't Say A Word, the set was understandably very biased towards her new material – music that sees her delve into significantly more electronic territory than her debut album. It's certainly no coincidence that this change in style has brought greater success in the States.
Her trademark breathy voice was on great form, although it was mixed very low and was often dominated by the dense backing band. Further, a particularly noticeable noise gate was run over the lead vocal, adorning the more stripped-back atmospheric moments with constant loud bursts of hiss.
Whilst the new electro-pop material stands up fairly well in the live environment (albeit with a helping hand from backing tracks) it was her popular older hits that seemed to steal the show – especially a sing-along solo acoustic version of Guns & Horses and set closer Starry Eyed. That said, new lead single Anything Can Happen proved to be a very popular choice also.
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However, it's hard to decide whether her innocent, bashful personality is suited to this new direction. Whilst the crowd were very vocally appreciative after each song and clearly knew all of the lyrics, Goulding seemed to lack a little stage presence and charisma in the live environment to play up to the style of music, and didn't seem to transfer much of her energy to the audience.
She unquestionably put on a slick show, well received and performed to the best of her extensive abilities. I just fear that she's treading perilously close to becoming another delicate English talent whose musical individuality is being lost in an attempt to 'break America'.