Label: Polydor Records
Ellie Goulding is lucky her debut was a sleeper. Because her second album sounds like it was created by a woman immersed in creativity, not consumed with chart position or reiterating the airy pop of Lights. Halcyon is complicated and challenging, its pensive angel choirs and complex beats (often honed from her vocals) are fascinating if almost alienating. Then you get to "Figure 8," a symphony of ebbing, flowing beats; rippling vocal riffs; and swollen drama that drowns any doubts, heralding a second half in which Goulding finds her groove as pop provocateur.