Ellen Reid


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The former softer, gentler vocal half of Crash Test Dummies has produced an interesting and evolving solo collection ranging from the quasi-industrialized synthesizer on "Make You Mine" to a world music feeling on "Everything," with its electronic layers in the vein of Depeche Mode and its Exciter album. The song also has trip-hop backbeats supplementing Reid's vocals, but when the same effort is tried on a funky groove during "Get Into," it falls a bit flat. Front and center throughout the album are Reid's strong yet fragile vocals, with little in the way of great variance but skillfully solid. Reid's voice and performance are much stronger when opting for an organic, traditional instrument arrangement, as exemplified by "Mirror" and the exquisite "Force Field." A slight annoyance is how the album seems segmented, with songs in the same style running in consecutive order instead of being mixed. A hidden track begins ten minutes after the wistful "You're Early," a piano-driven production similar to a Broadway stage tune. Thankfully on this impressive debut she plays to her strong points of attractive, highbrow pop with some lyrics featuring fabled characters.