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Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Hana

  by Nick Dent-Robinson

published: 3 / 7 / 2023

Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Hana
Label: Select Label
Format: CD


Versatile first album of new songs in seven years from Sophie Ellis-Bextor which takes some of its musical inspiration from Far Eastern culture

Sophie Ellis-Bextor did brilliantly at capitalising on the success of her lockdown Kitchen Disco performances. Her weekly series of chaotic family pop shows on Instagram were turned into a brand by the savvy mother of five. Subsequently there have been sell-out tours, two related albums as well as a 24-hour sponsored “danceathon” for Children In Need. And in November, 44 year-old Sophie will be hitting the road again. All this is in contrast to the relatively understated solo musical career Sophie was pursuing prior to lockdown. She had made her name with club hits like ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’ before graduating to more eclectic styles on 2014's ‘Wanderlust’ and 2016's ‘Familia’. These two albums were the first of what was intended to be a trilogy. Now that trilogy is completed with the release of Sophie's new album, ‘Hana’ - which is her first set of new songs in seven years. Like its two predecessors, it was co-written by Sophie and composer Ed Harcourt who also produced the record. The emphasis is very much on Sophie's not inconsiderable artistry...fans looking for glitterballs and feather boas will not find them on this album! The record is instead dominated by indie-pop style guitars and keyboards and it takes some of its musical cues from the Far East (where Sophie already has quite a following). The title is the Japanese word for blossom and there is a nice acoustic song, ‘Tokyo’ that was inspired by Sophie's visit to that city. The idea of focussing on a specific geographical area for each album in the trilogy was established with the first LP, ‘Wanderlust’ which was shaped by Eastern Europe, whilst ‘Familia’ was inspired by Latin America. The concept isn't rigid though. And on ‘Hana’ there are also some songs about space travel (like ‘Breaking The Circle’ and ‘Beyond The Universe’ where galaxies are passing Sophie by). ‘Hana’ opens strongly with the atmospheric ballad ‘A Thousand Orchids’ sung with a yearning tone that quickly tells us Sophie has progressed beyond disco diva mode on this new album. ‘Broken Toy’ is a compelling weepie, too - demonstrating Sophie's range. Her Kitchen Disco tours will no doubt continue to sell out - but ‘Hana’ reaffirms Sophie Ellis-Bextor's sheer versatility and professional competence. It deserves to do well for her and maybe it will be remembered long after the Kitchen Disco days have become ancient history.

Track Listing:-
1 A Thousand Orchids
2 Breaking The Circle
3 Until The Wheels Fall Off
4 Everything Is Sweet
5 Lost In The Sunshine
6 Tokyo
7 Beyond The Universe
8 He's A Dreamer
9 Reflections
10 Hearing In Colour
11 Broken Toy
12 We've Been Watching You
13 Breaking The Circle - Sudlow Radio Mix
14 Breaking The Circle - Sudlow Remix
15 Breaking The Circle - Sudlow Dub
16 Lost In The Sunshine - Sudlow Radio Mix
17 Lost In The Sunshine - Sudlow Remix
18 Lost In The Sunshine - Radio Edit
19 Breaking The Circle - Radio Edit

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