Allo Darlin' - Allo Darlin'

by Rich Morris Rating:7 Release Date:2010-06-07

"Will you go out with me tonight/ Lose it on a disco floor," sings Australian-born, London-dwelling singer Elizabeth Morris on 'Dreaming' in a saccharine voice that suggests her idea of 'losing it' is probably to go a bit overboard with the icing on her freshly baked muffins. The fact that 'Dreaming', the opening track on Allo Darlin's self-titled debut album, has its twee-o-metre wacked up to the max sparks fears that we are in for a debilitating slew of cutesy-pie, jangle-pop ditties. And in fact, Allo Darlin' does have its fair share of these, but it also has more substantial fare, such as the gorgeously seductive slide guitar swoon of the Mazzy Star influenced 'Let's Go Swimming', or the knowing 50s fairground pop of 'Kiss Your Lips'.

Where there's tweeness, it mostly stays on the right side of the cool divide, sticking to the indie pop classicism of Belle & Sebastian on 'Silver Dollars' or hand-jiving, tremulous girl group dynamics on standout track 'If Loneliness was Art'. In fact, if the album has a weak point, it's probably Morris herself. Her voice is pleasant but a little thin and lacking enough personality to sell the big emotional moments. Her ukulele also intrudes unwelcomely on some tracks, dragging things towards to novelty song territory. The novelty song tag also comes via some pretty annoying lyrics from Morris. Throughout, she seems to strive to set her songs in a world recognisable as the one she lives in. This sentiment is very laudable, but sometimes it goes too far. The otherwise stunningly beautiful 'Let's Go Swimming' is almost wrecked by Morris dropping in references to Camden, Shoreditch and Moorgate. The lyric is about finding something real outside a supposedly fake scene, but these references feel crowbarred in and, conversely, lead you to wonder if Morris' world is really that small.

All in all, Allo Darlin' is a good first album, confident and assured at the brand of indie pop is plays with. However, you do hope that next time round Morris drops the tweeness (and the ukulele) and uses her undeniably strong songwriting to engage a little more with the outside world and its complexities.

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