Then again, there's no denying that Batchelors' finest has done its job. Starsmith excels himself on the eight tracks he helms here, embellishing Goulding's folky songs with gorgeous, glittery-sounding electronic effects and a generous helping of pop gloss. 'Under The Sheets' is given an appealing drum thump that suits the unease in its lyrics, 'I'll Hold My Breath' sounds like a Coldplay ballad that's been sprinkled with fairy dust, and just about everything glistens as effortlessly as Cheryl Cole's veneers. So successful is their formula, in fact, that the other two producers charged with steering a song apiece, Frankmusik and Fraser T Smith, don't try anything radically different.
It may sound good - really good - but Lights wouldn't be nearly so gripping if it weren't for the quality of Goulding's songs. Trailer singles 'Under The Sheets' and 'Starry Eyed' proved that she knows her way to a proper pop chorus, and her standards rarely slip across the album, with the elegantly unravelling melodies of 'This Love' and 'Wish I Stayed' pointing to the emergence of a formidable natural songwriting talent. Over the course of these ten songs, Goulding sings mainly about relationships, neatly capturing the insecurity of falling in love on 'This Love', chastising an ex for giving up too soon on 'Your Biggest Mistake', and offering lovely declarations of mutual support on 'Guns And Horses' and 'I'll Hold My Breath'. She's no doe-eyed romantic though - "You're more is less, babe," she sings on 'Under The Sheets', offering her partner a hint that he might want to get better acquainted with the mid-'90s output of Margi Clarke.
Lights isn't perfect - the odd tired line ("You're as sharp as a knife and you fit like a glove") sounds horribly ordinary sung in Goulding's remarkable voice, and it could do with another dancefloor rush to match 'Starry Eyed' - but for the most part this a terrifically accomplished debut. So accomplished, in fact, that Goulding might want to splash out on a nice carton of New Covent Garden Carrot & Coriander next time she and Starsmith are flagging in the studio.
> Click here to read our recent interview with Ellie Goulding