Saturday, 15 March 2014

LYLA FOY - ALBUM REVIEW

Lyla Foy - Mirrors In The Sky (Sub Pop) 
Lyla Foy - Mirrors In The Sky

Release Date: 17th March 2014

Lyla Foy is a lady who seems to have stealthily snuck up on the music industry only to launch herself at it with her whole body, kinda like a stalker who finally ends up alone in a room with the object of their obsession. Having said that, Foy retains a little more composure and class through proceedings but I can't help shake the feeling that she must be insanely excited to be releasing her debut album on Sub Pop and going on a tour that takes in a whole lot of cool venues before culminating in a few dates with the legendary Sharon van Etten. This debut offering opens with the somewhat subdued and awkward 'Honeymoon' before the Feist meets Bat For Lashes up-tempo pop of 'I Only' which seems to feature the sound of squeaky bicycle brakes or an over stimulated chimpanzee at some point. It is on 'Impossible' that Foy starts to hit her stride though with breathy vocals drifting over insistent beats and mysterious melodies that rise like gas from a swamp in the twilight.

There is very free approach to this album and it feels as though Miss Lyla has been given the opportunity to explore and experiment in the studio for which the label should take great credit. 'Rumour' is a great example of this adventurous spirit as what could be a plodding acoustic strum becomes something altogether more interesting thanks to the intermittent electronic rhythms and bursts of orchestral notes that emerge from time to time to keep you on your toes (and it ends with a fade, not enough songs do that these days). On 'Easy' Foy starts to let her voice reach a little further as the big drums take things in a Florence + The Machine direction while 'No Secrets' whirs and tick-tocks along making you want to do some weird dance that is somewhere between the Robot and Morris dancing - it's not easy, trust me. If you're looking for the exact point between Portishead on a sunny day and Kate Bush in her pomp then look no further than 'Only Human' but if you want Jim Noir's music underneath Lily Allen's more eloquent younger sister then skip straight to the uncomfortably titled 'Feather Tongue'.

As the album approaches the last two tracks you definitely get the sense that Lyla Foy has had a long and rich musical education which has given her a lot of references to draw from. The danger, which I think she just manages to avoid, lies in putting so many different colours in to the mix that all you get is a non-descript brown colour that satisfies nobody. 'Someday' is probably my least favourite track on the album is it somewhere between a Pink! album track and a poor 80s ballad. Closing track 'Warning' has a delightful lilt to it that reminds of the way 6 Day Riot write songs that make you want to smarten up and fall in love with a someone beautiful just so you can dancing in a ballroom. This is a strong debut album and Foy certainly has talent but my main concern is that there aren't any obvious singles on this collection. As I sit with Spring sunshine pouring through the window there is no denying the beauty here but will the beauty still shine as strong on a dreary, grey afternoon? I'm not so sure.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/LylaFoy?fref=ts

Live Dates:

17th March - Louisiana, Bristol
18th March - Rough Trade East, London (FREE)
19th March - Purcell Room, Southbank Center, London
20th March - Bodega Social, Nottingham
21st March - Nice and Sleazy, Glasgow
23rd March - The Castle Hotel, Manchester
17th April - 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis w/ Wake Owl
18th April - Turner Hall, Milwaukee
19th April - Shubas, Chicage w/Wake Owl
21st April - The Ark, Ann Arbor w/Wake Owl
22nd April - The Basement, Columbus w/Wake Owl
24th April - Rough Trade, Brooklyn w/Wake Owl
25th April - Cafe 939, Boston w/Wake Owl
26th April - Milk Boy Philly, Philadelphia
1st May - Tea Leaf Shop (Liverpool Sound City), Liverpool
3rd May - Live At Leeds, Leeds
4th May - Cleeres @ Kilkenny Roots Festival, Kilkenny
5th May - Pumphouse @ Kilkenny Roots Festival, Kilkenny
9th May - Unitarian Church @ Great Escape Festival, Brighton
11th May - Studio 672, Cologne
12th May - Milla, Munich
13th May - Circolo Magnolia, Milan
15th May - Knust, Hamburg
28th May - Cafe De La Danse, Paris w/Sharon Van Etten

3rd June - Bitterzoet, Amsterdam w/Sharon Van Etten

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