A deeper side to just darn cute
By Catherine P. Lewis
Friday, Apr. 20, 2012
The playful name Allo Darlin' perfectly captures the twee-pop band's carefree, up-tempo sound. But despite the whimsy in its name, the U.K.-based quartet doesn't focus just on happy sentiments. Instead, it tackles relationship woes and other wistful moments on its second album, "Europe," all with the same C86 sound it established on its debut.
These new songs do have a richer guitar sound than the group's earlier recordings. Lush, jangly guitar tones serve the band well on such songs as "Capricornia" and "Still Young," while "Wonderland" recalls the group's predecessors the Field Mice. "Some People Say" begins sparsely, with the spotlight on Elizabeth Morris's breathily cooed lyrics, but the rest of the band joins in by the second verse, complementing Morris's nostalgia with a somber tone and subtle flourishes (especially from a slide guitar).
"Europe" drags a bit when its sound grows thin; the solo ukulele number, "Tallulah," feels out of place among songs with fuller, noisier instrumentation. The choice might be a nod to Allo Darlin's beginnings as Morris's solo project - and her vocals here are certainly on point, capturing a melancholy yearning - but the song's momentum-killing placement in the middle of the album only serves to show by contrast how far the band has grown.