Reuniting with collaborator Ed Harcourt, Sophie Ellis-Bextor offers an explicit sequel to the sophisticated cinematic pop of Wanderlust with Familia. Like that 2014 affair, Familia is lush and romantic, bearing a widescreen sensibility that contrasts nicely with Ellis-Bextor's natural reserve. She may be somewhat distant -- part of her charm is her glamorous remove; she doesn't beg the audience for its affection -- but she can scale the heights of Harcourt's arrangements, no matter if they're galloping neo-disco ("Wild Forever," "Come with Us") or overblown ballads ("Crystallise"). Much of Familia lies between these two extremes, but the midtempo adult alternative pop is sharp and clever: witness all the mariachi accents on "Hush Little Voices," something that finds a counterpart with the flamenco rhythms of the closer, "Don't Shy Away," or how "Here Comes the Rapture" maintains its tension via staccato strings. Familia is self-conscious, self-styled sophisticated pop, but its self-awareness is what makes it work: Ellis-Bextor and Harcourt work as hard at creating an alluring atmosphere as they do on the bones of the songs, and the result is striking and effective.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine