Album Review | AVANT-POP

Imogen Heap, ‘Sparks’

“An acquaintance with benefits, a work in progress/ Downloading romance, downloading romance,” sings Imogen Heap in “Me the Machine,” articulating a sentiment reiterated in many ways throughout much of her fourth album. “Sparks” finds the singer seeking out the demarcation between technology and humanity; she embraces computerized sound eagerly, but doesn’t necessarily trust it to express the vital beats of the human heart. Heap approaches the problem from several directions: the globo-acoustic/synthesized hybrid stomp favored by Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel at their peaks (“Cycle Song” and “Minds Without Fear,” respectively); a dark but openhearted piano ballad colored by orchestrated samples (“You Know Where to Find Me”). The circuits run deep, but Heap keeps the machines from winning; even when experiments spin out of her control — or produce the occasional inert result — it comes honestly from messy curiosity, not mechanical autopilot. (Out Tuesday)


ESSENTIAL “You Know Where to Find Me”

Marc Hirsh can be reached at
Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.