CD Reviews: Allo Darlin' -- 'Europe'
Cold apartments. Thwarted romance. Drizzle. Sweaters. The melancholy touchstones of the twee-pop genre can seem almost comically dour, and in fact, often are.
The air of elegant moping set against a gently jangling guitar is a timeworn pose, but the approach of the young U.K.-based quartet Allo Darlin' is less dreary than most, owing to the sharp, concise songwriting and confident delivery of lead singer Elizabeth Morris, an Aussie by birth and Londoner by choice. She Morris' voice most strongly echoes the rain-pure burr of Tracyanne Campbell from the Scottish group Camera Obscura. Like the sprightlier output of that celebrated band, the tidily considered pop confections on Allo Darlin's second album float and dart like a sparrow. She is especially adept at mining the intersection of music and memory, and often acknowledges the outsize influence accorded to the former by impressionable youth. "You said a record is not just a record/records can hold memories" she sings on the ukulele-strummed closing ballad "My Sweet Friend," nailing the air of sweet nostalgia for solace sought in sound. "All these records sound the same to me," she then adds, lamenting the efficacy of same. It's a bitter truth, but one worth one more song.