Born out of the hardship of 2020, “Signs of Life is about re-emergence”. Whilst also exploring topics such as grief and addiction, Foy Vance’s fourth studio album is inspired by the cycle of death and rebirth, the dawn after despair and the revival of hope after the isolation and depression of lockdown.
Sapling was the first single released and provides the opening to the album. Capturing the essence of renewal, the song is marked by hollow piano chords and soaring vocals. In true Vance fashion, the song is a poetic self-expression of overcoming his addiction and the importance of making a start. It may be a long road, but the first step is the beginning.
Pairing his typical Folk style with Soul, Country and Alt-Rock influences, Vance has created an album full of impassioned and heartfelt records. However, as with any amount of hits, there is always a miss. For me, that comes in the form of ‘People Are Pills’, a song about human inconsistency. The song feels like a step out of line with the rest of the album, a mix of jarring chromatic movement and jazzy harmony that acts as a hump in the road for the otherwise well-put-together album. It is a song, for me, that falls into the background, hiding behind the others – falling short of the mark that tracks like ‘System’ and ‘We Can’t Be Tamed’ smash through.
‘If Christopher Calls’ was the penultimate single before the album release. In the song, Vance pairs a pop-infused musical scape with deep and sorrowful lyrics, creating a song that catches the listener unaware. The catchy melodies and harmonious setting lure the audience into a sense of familiarity. After enticing the audience into a false sense of security, the listener is caught off-guard by the deep and sorrowful lyrics about the loss of a loved one, creating a truly heartfelt and emotional song that pulls at the heartstrings.
All in all, Vance has written and released an album that hits all the right spots, an album that has done well not just with his audience but critics alike.