You may have heard Foxes before. Despite Glorious being her début album London-based Louisa Rose Allen has already won a Grammy for her vocal performance on Zedd’s 2012 dance smash ‘Clarity’. She has also featured on a tracks by Rudimental, Sub Focus and even Fall Out Boy. Possessing the crossover appeal that has been afforded to her by these guest appearances, three UK top 40 singles and an impressive set of pipes, Foxes is in a very enviable position. All she needs is an album fitting its title to seal the deal.
What may be surprising to some given her dance roots is that this album is not all bass drops and electronica experimentation. While the instrumentation and production on this record is exquisite and recalls everything from Daft Punk to Bastille, this is not an album made purely for the clubs. Foxes has the charts in mind with her nuggets of pop confection. The best of which are the singles located on the first half of the album: ‘Youth’, ‘Let Go For Tonight’ and ‘Holding Onto Heaven’. There is an overarcing theme of fleeting youth present on Glorious and in the life-affirming sky high choruses, sneaking bass rumbles and killer effected drums of the singles is where the theme is best represented. Each chorus has been constructed with slight alterations from the chorus previous so that it always feels fresh and exciting.
Six of the eleven tracks on Glorious have been previously available. The real surprises come with the new tracks on the record’s Side B. On these the pace is slower, giving Allen time to exercise her vocal talents as well as exorcise her demons. On the darkly beautiful piano-led ‘Night Glo’ her voice takes on a confessional tone comparable to Bat For Lashes, or even Kate Bush, while on the unexpected hyper chorus of the title track she harmonizes with herself to create something that would rival peak-era Girls Aloud. The album concludes with the heartbreaking ‘Count the Saints’ where over the top of a minimal soft electronic soundscape she pleads “love isn’t always fair/but that’s no reason to be so cruel to me”.
Glorious is not perfect, the perky cowbell heavy ‘Night Owls Early Birds’ feels out of place (tracklisted between sombre ‘Night Glo’ and straight up anthem ‘Glorious’) and would probably work better as a fun b-side. The only other criticisms stem from the general tendency for electronic pop music to date itself to a certain year or period and so in five years time this will probably not be the joyous breath of fresh air it currently is. Like youth, musical trends are fleeting but who cares: Foxes compels the listener to live in the now. Right now, in this moment, she is as exciting as anyone else in this genre and will no doubt continue to be so. A bonus track on the album is a live session of Allen performing ‘Clarity’ accompanied only by a piano, transforming it from club banger to Adele-sized ballad. It shows that stripped of everything, all the drums and synths and bass, Foxes has substance, has talent and is still glorious.