Chloe Foy – ‘Where Shall We Begin’ album review

Gloucestershire-via-Manchester singer-songwriter Chloe Foy releases her debut album ‘Where Shall We Begin’ on 11 June. Recorded at Pinhole Studios in Manchester and inspired by the likes of Tyler Tamsay, John Congleton and Gillian Welch, Chloe co-produced the album alongside her musical collaborator, Harry Fausing Smith. Chloe says the record’s songs ‘are my most inner and deepest secrets. The kind of things I only express to those closest to me, but for some reason in song, I can be open with the world’.

‘Where shall we begin? This dance is a sin’ are the opening lines of the record and although ‘Where Shall We Begin”s country-twinged guitar work reminded us of early Willy Mason, there’s also space for whistling and glistening sound effects as Chloe ponders how there’s ‘Death to those who wait. Likely it’s too late’. ‘Deserve’ follows, taking the record into the kind of space occupied so well by Sharon Van Etten and Elliott Smith as Chloe defiantly declares ‘This is more than you deserve’ and how ‘Silently you take you chances. What do you feel?’ ‘Work of Art’ has grandiose strings (arranged by Harry) as Chloe celebrates the warmth of feeling created by performer and audience in a shared communal space – it won’t be too long until we have that back safely.

‘Evangeline’ is a poignant and pining love letter (‘Evangeline, you are my queen. I promise I’ll keep you around’) full of self-reflection, while ‘Asylum’ finds Chloe pleasing for forgiveness against a dreamy Sigur Ros-esque soundscape and ‘Bones’ has her running away and falling while revealing just how tired the toil of modern life and mental health can make someone: ‘What do you see in this that you left? Finding all fury and burning it up’. Chloe lost her father at a young age and this grief is scattered across many of the album’s songs. It’s deeply personal and oh so powerful. ‘Shining Star’ features Craig Finn-esque storytelling about a man who is ‘married to a life that pays’ – against a spy film soundtrack – while recent single ‘Left-Centred Brain’ has the strings at the forefront and that reassuring message to herself of ‘Go easy, brain’.

The album draws to a close with the raw and emotional ‘And It Goes’ – ‘All this time she’s watching me. In my dreams, it’s all I need’ – and ‘Square Face’, a piano-led song that finds Chloe talking about pouring her heart out in a way that would draw tears from Cat Power. Where shall we begin? Chloe Foy is a very special talent and this debut record is just the start…

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