Foxes, XOYO, London

Like her namesake, Louisa Allen proves hard to pin-down at an impressive London live gig.

Rating:

As an artist, Foxes - that’s Louisa Allen to those who know her - seems to uncannily channel the best bits of a multiplicity of young ingénues – to the point that a conspiracy theorist might suspect some genetic engineering hijinks afoot.

Obviously, this is a ridiculous notion and certainly not one that troubles the crowd tonight, who are a 50/50 split between middle-aged men and waifish girls with trendy boyfriends in tow. In fact, the venue is filled to the rafters, quite literally, with both the petite and eagle-eyed standing on a raised bench that runs around the edge, for an optimal view. When Foxes finally glides on stage to a twinkly xylophone intro, slightly later than scheduled, the audience anticipation is palpable and quickly rewarded.

Set against the minimal backdrop of her name spelt out in neon, plus drummer and keyboardist, she works through a setlist that’s no-fuss yet full-bodied and like her elusive namesake, hard to pin down. From gorgeous dramatics (the Lana Del Rey-ish ‘Beauty Queen’) to semi-raucous rawk-chick (‘Let Go For Tonight’) and softly euphoric electro (‘Youth’), Foxes dons many guises, like a child playing dress-up, and they fit her like a second skin – look no further than the Rudimental and Fall Out Boy collaborations for supporting evidence. Plus, with a stage presence that straddles various dichotomies – both wide-eyed waif and kittenish seductress, earth goddess yet femme fatale glamorous – she’s also a bewitching personality to gaze upon, sharing a resemblance to indie darling Zooey Deschanel.

But even more enviable than Foxes’ lovely exterior is her voice – and what a voice it is. Rich, sensuous and vulnerable, it ensnares like a trap and is at its most sublime on an enchanting acoustic rework of Zedd’s ‘Clarity’, the dance hit she guested on earlier in the year. And once her short ‘n’ sweet 45 minutes is up, that’s the lasting impression Louisa leaves; her ace in the hole is a stunning voice that can outfox ‘em all.

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