In the depths of a miserable winter, Foxes’ second studio album has come along just in time to inject a much-needed pop hit, and keep you moving and shaking all the way through to wpring. And it seems that whatever it is that Southampton’s synth-pop belle has been up to since the release of her debut album, Glorious, in 2014 (other than winning a Grammy), it dealt her a healthy dose of heartache along the way. Returning with All I Need, the atmospheric pop ballads are bigger and better, but the lyrical undertone is a more personal tale of growing up, discovering herself, and love’s demise – all wrapped up in a glamourous package that you can dance to.
Kicking off with a hat-trick of anthemic tunes, including the almost militant ‘Better Love’ – co-written by and featuring Bastille’s Dan Smith – the synth-filled hit single ‘Body Talk’ that’s doing the rounds of the radiowaves, and the sultry ‘Cruel’ which marks the beginning of the end for Foxes’ doomed relationship, the songwriting digs deeper, while the delicate vocals hit the sweet spot.
‘If You Leave Me Now’ provides the first sombre breather in the album, with an orchestral feel and pleading lyrics delivered straight from the heart. With a string section that builds energetically in the background, it could almost be the soundtrack to a dramatic break-up scene in a cheesy rom-com, before a complete turnaround with following track ‘Amazing’, one of the most upbeat tracks on the album. Giving off a playful ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ vibe, it’s a chant-filled classic pop number that successfully embodies the powerful feeling of being surrounded by your best friends on a glitzy night out on the town, which is a much-needed hit of positivity in the overall story.
With All I Need, it seems for every up there comes a down, as shown in ‘Devil Side’ and ‘Scar’, two of the more emotional tracks – which follow closely after the rousing ‘Wicked Love’. Packed with moody piano chords and stripped back vocals, they have a more real and raw approach, really showcasing Foxes’ husky voice and impressive range as she pours her feelings into each melody. ‘Money’ seems like a strange twist in the tale and a little out of place, feeling a little like strategically placed dance break to bring things up again, but with a catchy hook and a chorus that you can’t help but bop your head to, by the time you reach the final chanting chorus, you’re a huge fan.
Closing track ‘On My Way’ is a beautifully simple, gospel-like number with powerful vocals, which will really strike a chord with anyone who has been left heartbroken. It rounds the album up perfectly, portraying the draining emotional journey that relationships can become, and really showing that Foxes, aka Louisa Allen, is just a young girl opening herself up and trying to navigate her way through the world like the rest of us – except with a much better knack for songwriting and a dab hand at production.
All I Need is out now via Sign of the Times Records.