Der NME und der Guardian verstehen wohl auch Pop und vergeben jeweils 4 von 5 Punkten:
‘Body Talk’ remains the standout, but every track here could work as a single, from the modern Soca of ‘Cruel’ to ‘Wicked Love’ and its light indie-pop stylings. ‘Better Love’, written with Bastille’s Dan Smith, is a homegrown anthem, while ‘If You Leave Me Now’ is hugely commendable for doing 80s pop melodrama without, for once, resorting to pastiche.
Generally speaking the post-Harris rave pop of ‘Glorious’ has been jettisoned for something a little more tasteful, but no less ‘pop’. ’Money’ is the ‘All I Need’ template in microcosm: inspirational big-chorus pop on a bed of militant drums and soaring atmospherics, designed to convey steely resolve and indomitable hope. An album about regaining confidence after love’s demise, Allen has been doing some growing up since her debut, the now womanly tone of her vocals and more forceful songs putting to rest her slightly cloying previous persona of ‘pretty but wounded Hackney ingenue’.
A singer-songwriter’s pop album through and through, strong melodies and fluid songwriting take precedence over the usual disjointed melee of devices and decontextualised hooks that come about when producers write albums.
It’s not without its faults. Co-written by Dan Wilson (he of Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’) and One-Direction producer Jesse Shatkin respectively, ballads ‘Devil Side’ and ‘On My Way’ employ the same dreary Syco-pop format Foxes and her brethren aspire to transcend (Cowell may through a few disco-beats at One Direction but watery and sexless love odes their songs remain.) ‘Amazing’, meanwhile, is a little cheesy, and perhaps one motivational speech too many.
On second album All I Need, Southampton’s Foxes, aka Louisa Allen, manages to pull off pop’s greatest trick; making sadness danceable. An opening trio of fizzing bangers – Cruel’s tropical-tinged lilt, the Bastille-assisted Better Love and Body Talk’s disco swirl – are obvious happy-sad highlights. While the hopeful Amazing offers solace, billowy ballads Scar and Devil Side cement the album’s heartbreak status, anchored by Allen’s surprisingly frayed vocal. It’s only when she strays from the personal that things fall apart slightly, on the clunky Money (“Money can’t love you”, runs its advice). But overall there’s an abundance of grade-A pop on offer – just keep a tissue handy.