Following her debut album Glorious, the latest release from Louisa Rose Allen (a.k.a Foxes) sees the singer stick to her already well-made formula of synth electro pop, rarely doing her a disservice. Coming off the back of a broken and unhealthy relationship, All I Need is wholly personal to the songstress, swaying, as it does, between sorrowful balladry and euphoric emotion. And where artists such as Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith have gone on to become global icons almost instantly, Foxes provides a welcome slow burn antithesis to the wealth of talented Brit exports. Taking time to follow up her debut, the album feels far more assured, proving all the better for it.
Delivering pop, no compromises, in all its glory, the LP kicks off in blistering fashion. Released in July of 2015, Body Talk, is arguably still the best track on the album, fitting, where Foxes does best, in the realm of retro disco and experimental pop. But where she fits in one sense, she explores in another. Better Love, penned with Bastille’s Dan Smith, has remnants of Pompeii, a rich and anthemic song that utilises a less produced sound. Wicked Love follows in the same fashion, fleshing out the elements of generic pop, adding a contrasting indie like layer. Similarly Cruel provides another fresh tone to the album, heavy and pulsing, if not slightly repetitive. Yet, and not taking the repetitive note as necessarily criticism, the LP does have moments where Allen slips back into the universal pop sound. Amazing, the main focus here, is neither a filler track nor a killer.
Flipping the coin on her 80s inspired synth, Foxes brings heartache to the forefront with a number of refreshing ballads to switch up the mood. If You Leave Me Now bears the brunt of her emotion, a slow tempo song that takes the sombre tones of the piano and violin and blends them with a steady and swaying rhythm. Devil Side and Scar do very much the same, yet never quite reach the heights that If You Leave Me Now readily strives for. It’s in this inflection that she signs off the album. Coming as the last track on the LP, On My Way slips between the rational side of love and the hurt that it nearly always causes, singing, as she does, ‘I’ve damned myself tonight, I pray I’ll be alright, but you let me down I swear.’
Not without its minor weaknesses, All I Need is positive and progressive. Building a back catalogue that allows for manoeuvrability in both sound and tone, Allen’s second album is current electro pop at its best. Easy listening and uncomplicated, there is much to be said for her latest offering. Lesser tracks aside, of which there is only a few, Foxes relinquishes dance pop for something more profound. Melodrama bursting at the seams, the Southampton songstress delivers whole-heartedly, maturing from the over produced Glorious.