No one can deny that Foxes, otherwise known as Louisa Rose Allen, has a great voice; she shows fantastic range and every now and then that husky quality that is oh-so-fashionable comes through. Yet I can’t help but feel that her talents aren’t truly showcased on this album. In fact, after such a long wait for the record after her label pushed back its release from February to May, I was left feeling highly disappointed by this debut effort. For an artist with a huge amount of potential, I feel as though Foxes has been shoehorned into the role of mainstream pop/dance artist, purely designed as a tool to make her record label lots of money with trashy hits like Clarity, and Beauty Queen (but I’ll come back to those later). It really is a shame, as on the rare occasion on this album, a glimmer of talent does shine through from the London-based artist.
The opening notes of Foxes’ debut, Glorious, are definitely promising. The electronica artist starts opening track, Talking To Ghosts, with a dark yet pop-y synth riff and dark drum beats. Chants of “Ay-yah” echo throughout the backing, and the whole effect is rather enchanting, although the mediocre and repetitive lyrics let the track down somewhat. Still, this is definitely one of my picks from the album.
Next up I was hit by a blur of irritatingly catchy, songs-I-could-write-in-my-sleep tracks. Being met with predictable lyrics and choruses that are so easy to sing along to you found yourself doing so before having actually heard them before may be a good think when you’re drunk in a club, but when you’re listening to an artist with a genuinely good voice who shows occasional glimmers of promise, it’s just downright frustrating. Holding Onto Heaven is a key example of this - yes, the chorus may be catchy, but there’s nothing unusual about it. In fact I was almost sure I’d heard Paloma Faith sing the song before.
Night Glo showcases the talent of Foxes as the album slows down to make way for a tinkly piano-based ballad. The cynic in me says that this is purely a token effort at something a little slower in order to please the record label, as the lyrics and melody aren’t particularly profound. Her vocals, once again, are the thing that shines on this track.
Night Owls, Early Birds is one of the most offensive tracks on the album, in my opinion. Despite starting off with a little bit of promise, the chorus soon descends into an aggravating, obnoxious pop tune that doesn’t really make any lyrical sense. I could barely believe, at this point, that I wasn’t even half-way through the album yet. While I understand Foxes’ enthusiasm to give her fans as many tracks as possible after waiting so long for her debut release, 67 minutes is far too long to listen to, essentially, the same song over and over again.
Fortunately, the album does pick up a little slightly after this point (temporarily). Echo is a non-offensive pop song reminiscent of pop artist, Robyn. The chorus of this track was the one that decided to stick around in my head for hours after the album had finished - it’s actually quite an achievement that it managed it as all the songs are so similar it’s a surprise they didn’t all merge into one.
For me, Shaking Heads is the highlight of the album. The pace significantly slows down and seems to be more dream-pop than Eurovision; a refreshing change. While the chorus is slightly cheesy, I still enjoyed it. Or perhaps, ten tracks in, I’d forgotten what good music actually sounded like.
After this point I would strongly recommend turning the album off, purely for the sake of avoiding the terrible tracks that are Clarity and Beauty Queen. You may remember the former from nights out at Dirty Sexy Mondays last summer. The awful, awful lyrics in the chorus speak for themselves:
If our love is tragedy, why are you my remedy? If our love’s insanity, why are you my clarity?
Poor effort, really. Accompany this with tuneless football-like chanting and you can imagine how much I enjoyed this song. Beauty Queen isn’t much better, and belongs on Eurovision if I’m completely honest. In fact if we enter Foxes next year, we might be in with a chance of winning.