A soaring, complex album that nudges the singer-songwriter format in a new direction.
It’s been a long wait for Chloe Foy’s debut album ‘Where Shall We Begin’, after all she first gained some prominence as far back as 2013 when her debut single ‘In The Middle of the Night’ gained some decent airplay time on both BBC Radio 6 and Radio 2 and her follow-up singles ‘Flaws’ and ‘Asylum’, brought pretty significant streaming success with the latter approaching 8.5 million Spotify plays (don’t get me started on how little money that actually makes for an artist!). Of course nothing is ever straightforward in music-making world and in the interim Foy has had to deal with the heartbreaking death of her father to depression and ‘Where Shall We Begin’ touches on the lingering pain of that loss.
“For me, this album has come out of a decade of hard graft, trying to balance my craft with making a living, whilst taking my time to get it right. All whilst dealing with the fallout of a huge bereavement in my most formative years. I was finding it hard to work out who I was within this new, alien context of losing a parent,” explains Foy. For those not familiar with her previous work it’s likely that you’ll find it hard to categorise and if definitely on the darker folkier end of the Americana spectrum with Foy herself previously having heard it described as “cinematic folk” but ultimately, she’s a singer-songwriter albeit one happens to have a unique and very engaging style and her classical music background is never that far from the surface of many of the tracks.
The album opens with the title track and you’re immediately struck with the almost poetic vibe and the crystalline pure vocals sitting wonderfully above the guitar as the track adds layer upon layer and builds into a wonderful choral climax. It then dives into ‘Deserve’ with its luscious mix of Foy’s vocals surrounded by a mass of swirling strings while ‘Work of Art’ is about the warmth created for both songwriter and audience when a community of music lovers come together to spend their evening lost in song. ‘Where Shall We Begin’ isn’t your average singer-songwriter album. It’s complex, it’s hard to define, and it makes you work but if you put the effort in you’ll be rewarded with a multi-layered album that reveals more of itself with every play and if your musical preference is on the folkier side of Americana and you want to discover and explore the work of a distinctive artist then you need to give this a listen.