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A Magazine for Sheffield

Chloe Foy Where Shall We Begin

Foy’s outstanding ‘cinematic folk’ debut fuses sublime lyrical and musical melancholia with performative femininity.

Released: 11 June 2021
Where Shall We Begin

Chloe Foy is a singer-songwriter from Gloucestershire who, having previously released five EPs plus a clutch of live tracks at Abbey House, releases her first album via her own label. In a similar vein to a few albums I’ve reviewed this year, the ten tracks here reference a singular theme.

In Foy’s case, the regret that her late father decided not to follow his creative passion provides the emotional fuel for the album. “My dad was a talented artist and potter but instead of following that path, he worked in an office in pursuit of money, which ultimately made him unhappy” she reflects, and it’s this judicious thinking that underpins her determination to follow a musical path.

Eponymous opener ‘Where Shall We Begin’ acts as a scene-setter, with a Laura Marling-style guitar and vocal intonation that’s beautiful in its simplicity. With haunting harmonies and slightly baroque guitar, ‘Bones’ marries cascading melody and empathetic lyrics perfectly: “I’m falling but I won’t touch the ground”. ‘Left-Centred Weight’ reflects Foy’s view of “feeling that everyone’s going to die, which comes about from having grieved once before, but ultimately, coming to terms with it and making peace”. The song is a triumph – glorious strings preface ambitious lyrics alongside soft acoustic guitar and wispy harmonies to create one of the most uplifting songs on the album.

‘Shining Star’ is pivotal to the record, with its jangly guitar and mournful, menacing edge intertwined with soaring, crystal-clear harmonies. Lyrics include the line: “Fears untold and false absolve / Be true to who you are.” It’s this sentiment that’s at the heart of this superb debut – one of the best singer/songwriter albums I’ve heard this year.

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