I want to start this review by saying that while I gave this album four out of five stars, I wanted to give it more, but something held me back. I am reserving my first five out of five for a completely perfect, orgasm-inducing album. I mean Im a huge Wolf Parade fan, and I love Expo 86, but I only gave it four out of five. So that being said, know that my four out of five for Allo Darlins self-titled summer release is with forward-leaning apprehension.
Its rare for me to find an album that has such fantastic lyrics and also makes me feel like dancing in a field of flowers. Its either the former and the music is a bit morose or hard, or its the latter and the lyrics are somewhat superficial. Allo Darlin manages to tie both aspects together into one beautiful, ’60s pop girl-group, slightly country sounding, British package. I dont know what the British hipsters are doing, but with bands like Allo Darlin, Boy Least Likely To, Lucky Soul, and The Pipettes spreading a generous helping of sunshine over the streets, I hope they keep at it.
There is a fantastic innocence to Allo Darlin that comes out in the music. Its a mature innocence. The music may fit into that dreadfully titled twee-rock category, but its not as childrens-music sounding as Boy Least Likely To (the band I immediately think of when I read that title). Allo Darlin speaks of bars and love and emotions in a grown-up wayalbeit a maybe 20-something grown-up way. Trust me, Ive met plenty of 20-somethings who could be classified as children, but the way the band deals with it is not in the whining, indestructible way most hipsters deal.
Songs like Silver Dollars (my personal favorite), Woody Allen, and Dreaming take on the all too familiar topic of awkward quarter-life love with pinpoint accuracy. Silver Dollars contains most of my favorite lyrics on the album. Lead singer Elizabeth Morris delivers the lines with a combination of child-like joy and deadpan cynicismlines like And though this band is awful, I like them an awful lot or And though you say we are just friends and this love is purely platonic, Im hoping that youll forget after this round of gin and tonics. Also, the way Morris sings the line And all I want to know is where do we go when this bar closes? and the way the music cuts down under that line both hooked me in immediately.
I also loved the fun and teenage love state fair date of Kiss Your Lips, though it took me a couple listens to get past the involvement of the chorus of Weezer’s Sweater Song in the middle of the song. Once I actually listened to the song and to the lyrics surrounding the involvement, I understood the choice, and it just became that much more fun of a song. Morris delivers another great performance on lines like, I kissed your lips, and they were kinda salty. I kissed your lips and they were kinda sweet too.
I find the whole album to be just a damn lot of fun. These songs Ive mentioned are high on my list, but the rest of the album is not far behind at all. If youre looking for a summer album to brighten your dreary seasonal affective disorder, then Allo Darlin is it. Dont let the twee sound of it scare you off. Give it a chance, and you will not regret it. I have been listening to it on the train to and from work for the last four days, and it has made the impending doom of a day job more of just a well shucks. And that is saying something huge.