Mirrors the Sky
Label: Sub Pop
Catalog #: 71078
In most aspects of life, it's usually a good idea to keep your options open, lest you deny yourself the opportunity to explore avenues that might lead to transcendence or, at the very least, a little bit more happiness. But sometimes the best course of action is to find your path and stay focused, which is what Lyla Foy has been doing with her music for the past couple of years. That discovery has led to the creation of her debut album, Mirrors the Sky, due in spring on Sub Pop.
Everything changed for the 25-year-old London songwriter one day in early 2012, when she canceled her evening plans to work on music at home. After years of various collaborations, she instead decided to tap into her creative energy all on her own, and that night her bit of happiness arrived in the form of the gorgeously stripped-down "No Secrets," which she eventually shared with the world under the moniker WALL.
"When I first started writing for the project, I wanted everything to be really focused on the melodies, but also really simple and minimal," says Foy. "Just using a lot of bass, and simple drum patterns. So it was completely different to anything I was doing at the time. I wanted to try something new, and that one song happened and I felt like it was the beginning of something.
But that was then, and this is now, and now Foy has decided to come out from behind her WALL and adorn Mirrors the Sky with her given name. Let's not make a big deal about the transition: She's still in the same musical mindset that produced "No Secrets"--in fact, that very same song appears on Mirrors the Sky in a slightly updated form - and she still plays with the guys who have helped bring WALL's songs to the stage. If anything, listeners can just appreciate the irony that now that she's fully integrated her bandmates into her music, she's ditched the band name for her own. Unlike the WALL recordings, Mirrors the Sky contains plenty of input from the guys.
While the vibe on Mirrors the Sky is still restrained romanticism and dreamy drama, Foy had no problem scratching her pop itch on songs like the electro-grooved "I Only" and "Feather Tongue" and the slightly rockier (in a Christine McVie way) "Impossible." Just try getting those choruses out of your head. Blips and bleeps comfortably mix it up with live drums, and Foy's keys, guitar, and bass help fill in the rest of the gentle soundscape. Throughout the record, synthesized and organic sounds play off each other's strengths, giving everything a cool edge while burning with passion.
Like usual, all of the songs started with Foy building layers of beats, keyboards, and vocal melodies in her computer, and she worked quickly to bottle her inspiration at the source, usually completing the skeleton of songs in a few hours.
"Working fast is fun and keeps me excited," she says, "rather than writing a song and playing it for a few weeks and then getting around to recording it."
For a project that began as a single song in a London bedroom, Lyla Foy's hypnotically hushed songs have come quite a long way over the past two years, figuratively and literally, as her worldwide deal with Sub Pop will find her spending quality time supporting Mirrors the Sky across the globe. Funny how taking a singular route has led to such a momentous journey.
Mirrors the Sky will be released on March 18th, 2014 through Sub Pop Records.