Allo Darlin’ have pretty much cemented their reputation as one of the key bands in the modern indie-pop scene. Having played a variety of festivals including Indietracks and End of the Road festival, singer Elizabeth Morris was in the Tender Trap with ex- Talulah Gosh front woman Amelia Fletcher, this proving their indie pop credentials. Although their discography has been consistent, their self-titled album released in June 2010 has been considered a classic in the genre. It was recorded in the summer of 2009 at the Soup studio underneath the Duke of Uke ukulele shop in London, with the majority of the tracks recorded live, giving off a raw and organic feel.
The album opens with ‘Dreaming’, featuring Morris’s ukulele and upbeat romantic lyrics painting a picture of a date at a disco: “Would you go out with me tonight, lose it on the disco floor/take the night bus with me tonight, frost on the window”. Additionally featuring a duet with singer/songwriter Monster Bobby, it sets the tone for the album.
Up next, ‘The Polaroid Song’ has a summery upbeat riff to it, evocative of a sunny day. It discusses a sense of youthfulness and nostalgia when Morris happily sings, “Feel like dancing on my own/to a record that I do not know/in a place I’ve never seen before” and the flute solo shouldn’t fail to put a smile on your face. ‘Kiss Your Lips’ despite its slight similarities to ‘5 Years Time’ by Noah and the Whale, is one of the more bouncy songs on the album. The harmonies on this track are also a highlight and describe the feeling of kissing a lover with salty sweet kisses. ‘Heartbeat Chilli’ with Morris stating that a chilli recipe needs two heartbeats (i.e. Morris and her lover). The chorus borrows from Johnny Cash’s ‘I Walk The Line’ (“I keep a close watch on this heart of mine”) while Paul Rains’ sliding guitar and the ukulele make for a perfect relaxing combination, which is both adorable and sweet.
‘If Loneliness Was Art’ is another romantic tale, talking about how the protagonist has a crush on a sensitive outsider, and despite the years of loneliness, she states that they are both going to get together at some point. The harmonies in the chorus are really strong, and fun to sing along to. ‘Let’s Go Swimming’ is similarly relaxed, and is produced very nicely, with the vocals and slide guitar dominating. Morris and Botting’s harmonies once again are a strong point, and lyrically it vividly describes a lake for her and her lover to swim in, and the soft vocals compliment the music very well.
‘My Heart is a Drummer’ is another bouncy song that just sounds like the recording studio was a fun place to be when it was recorded. It features a melody which you can hum along to. ‘What Will Be Will Be’, the final track on the album lovingly borrows from ‘Que Sera Sera’ by Doris Day”, yet there is enough to make it its own. It was recorded entirely live, and is a slow duet between Morris and Botting about the protagonist feeling overwhelmed and sad with the London atmosphere. However seeing her lover makes everything better and brings a feeling of positivity to the end of the album.
I love Allo Darlin’ because every track is flawless and it flows nicely. It is a really strong pick-me-up record to listen to when I am feeling down, and the summery vibes always take me to a happy and positive place.
Words by Ermis Madikopoulos