For a relatively new emerging artist, upstairs at the Camden Barfly, London, was completely packed out, with everyone present wanting a piece of FOE.
Genie in a Coke Can kicked off what was to be a heavy and eclectic set from the Hampshire youngster formerly known as Hannah Shark. With booming bass guitars and a big drum backbone added to those drawled teasing lyrics this track has an apparent Placebo feel to it that succeeded in getting the audience of all ages in the spirit of proceedings.
The PJ Harvey inspired, partly punk style songstress, who has a peculiar penchant for wildly colourful wigs, played the intoxicating Tyrant Song, a keyboard bashing bastard of a song, followed by a lighter toned track in contrast, The Black Lodge, which has a beautifully easy chorus that’s sure to get stuck in your head. The oddly titled Ode to Janey Lou, a ballad about bottled beer, and Get Money unfortunately failed to impress as much as other tracks, and throughout the instrumentals tended to overshadow the vocals in terms of volume.
Hauntingly striking A Handsome Stranger Called Death got everybody tapping their feet to the beat, and the deliberate organ element contributes perfectly to the eerie sense of this song. Clear catchy favourite Cold Hard Rock really lifted the mood, with its powerful keys based melody and gleaming lyrics, that were perfectly performed with the bitter attitude of a woman scorned, which seems to be this singer’s speciality. This seems to be the track that holds the most promise of commercial success.
Lyrics wise, FOE (real name Hannah Clark) has been accused of being nonsensical, and can arguably be a bit hit and miss, but some genuinely amazing gems crop up in her work, like this line that features in One Man Down – ‘I pour my heart out ‘til my chest gets sore’. As she grows more as a musician, undoubtedly, FOE’s lyrics will mature to reflect the depth of her experiences.
Though lacking a little stage presence, she doesn’t yet seem all that comfortable being the centre of attention after being used to performing alongside others with previous band Arthur, the set was thoroughly refreshing.
We at EF are very excited to see what FOE will deliver in future, as this is clearly one eccentric artist who has a hell of a lot more to give.