Foxes’ (a.k.a Louisa Allen’s) new pop-filled album offers juxtaposition between sweet pseudo-dance music and often dramatic break up lyrics. However it is the slower, stripped down songs which really steal the show.
Most pop songs these days have some element of dance music and the opening tracks of this album are no exception. They are good songs: the opening track ‘Better Love’ is strong with a good integration of the vocal from Bastille’s front man Dan Smith; ‘Body Talk’ introduces a synth element which makes it different from the others; and ‘Cruel’ has a really interesting intro beat which undercuts the whole song. Regarding the last two however, they are fairly safe songs, not pushing any boundaries or promoting her talented vocals to the full. The tracks of ‘Money’ and ‘Wicked Love’ are fairly disappointing, as both try to balance big vocals with a dance track but there is something off-kilter which makes the songs simply okay. This is possibly because they are both surrounded by the slower tracks which make the dance songs out of place.
The stand out songs are the slower, stripped down, vocal-based tracks which are much stronger in showcasing both her vocals and the emotion behind the songs. This begins with ‘If You Leave Me Now’ but it is when the dark lyrical underbelly of ‘Devil Side’ hits that the theme of heartbreak, which affects the whole album, actually becomes present and prominent. The cry for help and internal struggle is vivid and makes this potentially the best song of the album. ‘Feet Don’t Fail Me Now’ balances both big vocals with a hint of dance, starting slower but building into a much bigger song towards the end. ‘Scar’, with its simple piano and drums backing, showcases how to own heartbreak and use it to become stronger. The only one which feels slightly odd is ‘On My Way’, which teases at launching into a much bigger song, but lets the vocals take over and do most of the heavy lifting. This provides an odd, abrupt end to the basic album but perhaps this is meant to represent the abrupt ending of a relationship.
Overall the album is good and mostly heartfelt, but is also fairly safe. Hopefully the success of the vocal tracks will mean new songs are more adventurous and it will be interesting to see in which direction Foxes will go.
Image: RCA Records Press