Springing back from a well-needed four-year hiatus, pop singer and songwriter, Foxes – aka Louisa Rose Allen – released single, ‘Friends In The Corner’ in 2020 to fantastic reviews, displaying a new lease of life having reflected on what the world meant to her. With her next full studio album The Kick set for release in February (and a tour planned to coincide), I wondered if we’d see a continuation of this emotional openness? And if so, how will Foxes combine these down-to-earth lyrical themes with her iconic dance-pop vibes?
Ten seconds into her opening track and already-debuted single ‘Sister Ray’, I knew. An energy-fuelled, party-popping twelve-track dance album, The Kick is a grand return.
It was in my gloomy kitchen, huddled over a mug of hot green tea, waiting for the heating to fire up and warm my pyjama’d self that I first listened to Foxes’ new LP. Created in isolation, the layers of bouncing synths running playful rings around the soundscape are evidence enough of Foxes’ need for vivid escapism. Her desire for freedom can be heard not only in her honest lyrics, but in the exploding ups and mellow downs throughout.
Subsequently, Foxes wastes no time introducing the title track. By this point, it is already easy to tell that any fans of her notable tunes, such as ‘Let Go For Tonight’ and ‘Holding Onto Heaven’, will be overjoyed to know that The Kick is closer to the original sound that saw Foxes burst onto the scene. Yet, there is an air of maturity – of self-value – that really sets these new melancholic bops apart in a fresh and sentimental way.
The music has strong builds and rewarding payoffs like any dance music should, but, with the added context of Foxes’ contemplative time away, these dynamics are given all new meaning. As I am sure anyone who had previously been supporting the likes of Coldplay on arena tours would feel; this long-awaited release was a cathartic exercise.
Despite being a dance album, Foxes also knows how to bring it down, with tracks such as ‘Dance Magic’ and ‘Body Suit’, that draw attention to the emotional themes she wants to explore within herself, and serving as a positive way to diversify the album’s sound.
On the flipside, ‘Gentleman’ and ‘Two Kinds of Silence’ are deeply rooted in criticism and resolution of issues in romance, in which she asserts herself over sources of sadness. “We used to be lovers” could be in reference to a past romantic partner, or about Foxes’ own enlightenment of her relationship with herself and music.
The end of an album is a prime location for more ambitious tracks, and Foxes does not hold back, with minor tonalities dotted throughout big instrumentals, ‘Sky Love’ is confrontational and confident, expelling the remainder of her energy, succeeded only by ‘Too Much Colour’, which resolves the dramatic and vibrant performance with the intimacy of soft piano chords. “Where did the night go?”: Foxes accepts that, sometimes, you just have to let go retreat back into the comfort of your now-warm kitchen, with your mug of tea, enjoying memories of your parties, and looking forward to the next ones.
Reviewed by Tom F-H