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Advancing by Heaps & Bounds

Imogen Heap is that girl.

There’s much the vague term encompasses, but for us, Imogen embodies that singular girl we spent most of high school following. You know, the eccentric free-spirit that was both weirder than us (to deflect the sharp taunts of bullies) and tougher than us (to give them black eyes afterwards). We admired our offbeat best friend, following her every pierced body part and new band obsession with the blind devotion of a Scientologist.

Now, ten two years past graduation, we’ve matured and molded to a life bound by the rules of adulthood, still secretly longing for the romantic days of teenagedom, when it was easy to give a black-nail-polished middle finger to convention.

Imogen Heap’s latest album, Ellipse, releases those Earthly bounds, returning us to that time when “alternative” was more than an offensive way for straight night clubs to grab gay dollars.

This generation’s Tori Amos, Imogen’s mastery over any instrument given to her (especially voice) has been nothing short of spellbinding. We first fell under the spell with iMegaphone, followed her while she fronted Frou Frou, and uncovered a new love thanks to “Hide and Seek.” Because of our history, the pressure accompanying Ellipse was so strong, we thought we’d developed the bends. Fortunately, the album is a breath of fresh air.

Fans hoping for a track cut from the cloth of “Hide and Seek” won’t find it on Imogen’s third solo work. Instead, an evenly dispensed collection of magic makes up Ellipse, with each track as epic and well-produced as its predecessor.

If you twisted our arms and forced us to (we’re totally into that sort of thing), we’d pick “Earth,” “Swoon,” “Tidal” and “Bad Body Double” as the must-have tracks.

For gays like us, the album is the best example yet of why Imogen is that girl; like our high school partner in crime, Ellipse is a warm escape pod that steals us away from the harsh, uncompromising environment.

Ellipse is available now for $10 on iTunes

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