Following the highly positive reviews she received for debut album Glorious released in May 2014, along with the Grammy she picked up after lending her vocals to Zedd’s Clarity, Louisa Rose Allen, otherwise known as Foxes, probably hasn’t quite reached the levels of mainstream success she had hoped for. Although, this isn’t really her fault; trying to stand out in a genre which is bursting at the seams with pop divas is always going to be hard, but she gives it her best shot.
Tonight she plays the second room in Glasgow’s ABC, to a small, but eager, sold out crowd. Playing with a full band in front of a minimalist set, she kicks things off with Holding Onto Heaven. Its fragile opening vocal builds up to an anthemic chorus, ‘I’m holding onto heaven, stars fade but I won’t let them.’ However, it’s not until one of her first releases Youth is played that the crowd start to come alive. It’s a brilliant piece of pop music, starting with a rumbling bassline before gradually building up to a synth-heavy crescendo. This sparks the first big singalong of the night as she sings, ‘Don’t tell me our youth is running out, it’s only just begun,’ providing a classic pop anthem for her young audience.
Allen works the crowd well throughout the set, providing a mix of older material from last year’s Glorious, and new songs from her upcoming second album, which will be released next year. Feet Don’t Fail Me Now has a stomping chorus, and rather appropriately gets the crowd stamping their feet, while Body Talk veers her synth-pop sound down a sultry disco direction, boasting an infectious chorus. The recently released Better Love sees a powerful vocal performance from the songstress in one of her more vulnerable moments of reflection. It was co-written with Dan Smith of Bastille and it shows, with its emphatic chorus and sweeping percussion. With the increased levels of production, it is clear that these songs are being made to be performed on stages much bigger than this one.
Undoubtedly, Allen has a great gift for writing infectious pop hooks, with the best one, Let It Go For Tonight, being saved for the end. However, there is nothing too ground-breaking about her music and at times, everything seems a bit too polished. She has a good few pop gems in her locker and is more interesting than any manufactured pop star you’d see the X-Factor produce, but it’s hard to see her stand out next to the likes of Marina & the Diamonds, Charli XCX and Florence and the Machine. However, her second album might provide the breakthrough to chart success she’s been waiting for and these pop gems might just see the bigger stages they’re screaming to be played on.