REVIEW gig Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Lyla Foy brings her intimate vocals & delicate, emotive instrumentation to London’s Southbank.

Previously know as WALL, 25 year old singer-songwriter Lyla Foy released her debut album
Mirrors the Sky through Sub Pop on March 17
th, accompanying this release was a number of live appearances including a night at the prestigious
Purcell Room at London’s Southbank.


Lyla Foy @ The Purcell Room 6/10

Foy’s sound is focussed on simple and minimal melodies built around bass and drum patterns, her story is one of the bedroom-born musical journeys. Such an intimate recording process led to a whispery, hushed vocal style that flows through her debut album. Part Kate Bush part Stevie Nicks ethereal angel, her album brims with restrained romanticism and dreamy drama, the music built by layers of beats, keyboards, and vocal melodies in her computer. But herein lies the conundrum of the Lyla Foy live experience, how to bring this delicate sound to the live foray? Backed by a band of young men with hair as flowing and luscious as Foy’s the drums, guitar and bass create a problem rather than solution. She opens with Left to Wonder off her WALL Shoestring EP, on record the synthesized and organic sound is haunting and her vocals gentle, live though the overbearing instrumentals are laden and their volume forces Foy to stretch her vocals, sounding struggled and flat. Songs from Mirrors the Sky, Impossible and Only Human lose their scratchy and lo-fi sound and come off sluggish. As the concert progresses, Foy thankfully becomes more comfortable and settles into the sound more, Honeymoon and Feather Tongue showcase her talent for perfecting a sound that feels both timeless and modern. For the obligatory encore Foy includes a cover of Karen Dalton’s Something on Your Mind, and jokes about people giving praise for songs she hasn’t written but it is the performance of Someday that really enthrals. Only accompanied by Mazzy Star style guitars and voice Someday is beautiful, dreamy and simply divine, it is by far the highlight of the entire performance.


On record Foy’s vocals are intimate and hushed but on the big stage they become engulfed by the loud and dominant (and you might say) unnecessary three different guitars, at times it sounds like she is really struggling to hit the notes. The performance as a whole fails to recreate her trademark sound but the solo encore performance of Someday evokes such emotion and beauty with her voice and guitar alone you would question why she feels the need to be drowned out by the band for the rest of the set. Her album shows she clearly has talent, now she needs to perfect a live set-up that reflects her sound more appropriately.