Sunday, July 29, 2012

Allo Darlin' Europe. Elizabeth Morris is from Australia. She lives in England. She's made marvelous English friends in England, she claims as much in her songs. She's bff with Amelia Fletcher, probably. I once stood near to Amelia Fletcher, it was spine tingling. I am not sure if anyone that I know would understand my spine tingling sensations, they haven't any basis in medical maxim, only universal truth. Sciatica? I have recently self-diagnosed myself with Sciatica. I imagine that I could explain it, if pressed; I could list Amelia Fletcher as the most important female in music from the past 30 years, really, but tides of laughter would crest over the major cities on this planet and life as we know it would continue. What a disappointment for we lovers of all things Allo Darlin'. First track, Neil Armstrong, mid-tempo pop goodness about astronauts, if only obliquely. This is the third opening I have attempted, actually this is the third time I have rewritten the entire entry. Allo Darlin' mean so much more today than they did just a few weeks ago. Circumstances define everything. Elizabeth Morris is our friend. She introduced herself so dearly on the first record. It was a recitation of her favorite records, her favorite boys, her favorite hangouts and a glimpse into her marvelous mind. Why is Amelia Fletcher important? Because you feel as if the mere possibility that she might see you in the front row of her show, swoon, have her heart turn cartwheels offstage for you would give you this unrealistic chance at happiness and eternal salvation because the queen of indiepop is in love with you. Then she would start talking why she prefers Pigou over Salter, swoons become an epidemic, a post on pro-med mailing list ensues and some lonely sole still pining over a poor Australian veterinarian dead too soon from Hendra virus moves his sympathies to you and your tragic case of the vapors. Love. Love. Love. It is real. Theirs is an art to love and to the swoon and pining and it is difficult sometimes to elucidate a compelling narrative concerning love over a sundae, love under 600 thread pharaoh sheets and a summer drive through Nederland into the cloistered valleys of lodge poles and transient aspens. This is the second album. Elizabeth has moved away. It is Allo Darlin' now. Collectivities are never as endearing as an individual. And so the first track Neil Armstrong will elicit adjectives far different than those employed with ubiquity on the release of the first record. Competent, vague, dreamy, catholic. She believes in me. But is she really in love with a moon landing denier or is it a hook? Pop singers don't necessarily lead more interesting lives than the rest of us but when the conceit turns on pivots outside of her sphere of influence it turns uninspiring perhaps. Second track. I labeled this a bit of that nostalgic geography perhaps made most famous by the Lucksmiths. Am I wrong? I was in Australia for nearly a year, not so recently, I was unaware of Capricornia. This is the jangle. The breed is not uncommon, her video a stratocaster strum, flats, hardwood floors and shabbiness. Amelia Fletcher would never have allowed this level of shabbiness. Even when living live as a riot grrrl they had definitive style. Allo Darlin' boys are mainly unimpressively coiffured, spend some money boys, lazily attired and content in their penumbrous existence. But the music is exciting and the words are revelatory. It's train music, sentimental and chorus carry you along on journeys into crevices and nooks of significance and imagery painted on dream canvasses. Sorta. The characters here are never as neatly defined as on the first album. I can imagine her old friends discovering joy when listening to the first record, a notebook full of eccentricities and moments to remember have ben traded in for a tour journal filled with anonymous faces seen from sun streaked windows, from behind eyes adjusted for uniformity. How disappointing for Elizabeth turned Allo Darlin' to look out into a sea of faces and see only the same vacant stares reflected back at her. The world is populated with an enervated and uninspiring and tautological spirit these days. By rights we should be on the precipice of a major conflagration. But the social contract is a steadying force. The illusion of wealth is difficult to release. And so we have the second Allo Darlin' record and it does not compel action. Third track. Europe. A treatise on the unified currency? The Common Market? Mediterranean sensibilities versus Anglo-Saxon sensibilities? I've just finished volume five of the history of civilization. The Renaissance and I have a soft spot for Benvenuto Cellini, a man whose talent made others overlook the fact that apparently he was a mass murderer. Would we forgive the Smittens if Colin Smitten decided to murder his local Vermont General Assembly man in glorious Colonna form. Unlikely. I can't forgive Colin Smitten for his music really. Allo Darlin' should not be so forgiving either. In our diminished universe they are Tintoretto to Colin's Schiavone, but we are feeling overly kind being as our hearts are full at the moment. Next track Some People Say, again with the vague collective, the same transition as on the band dynamic. I can imagine a scene at an inexpensive curry restaurant in Shoreditch or wherever it is that they are dicing and the boys in the band lamenting over the slowies. Let's become a proper rock band was probably uttered by some foolish knave and we are thus lastly situated with a second record freed from the nuance of character study and heartache and wedded to chiming chords and hallmark sentiments cast out into the void to anyone and everyone. Perhaps everyone on the first record was fictional, perhaps the chili existentially representative of a couple in the throes of Hold Me Tight We hope not. Next track. Some People Say is exceedingly lovely by the way and it is my favorite track by a fair measure but my mind is distracted with wedding rings and fairy lights and Alaskan sunsets. Elizabeth has turned her band into my blog. References plucked from the aether for their catholic appeal, words and phrases constructed from their euphony rather than the eminence of emotion. The guitar player wants guitar solos, he has them, the bass player remains anonymous, drummers are drummers unless they play in Long Fin Killie or Pram or Moonshake or they are named Loz. This is a string of breathless sentiments that never add up to a conclusion. Am I too cruel? Yes. I love this album. But someone that I love has fallen in love with the first Allo Darlin' album and I am sad that I don't want to share this album with her with the same vim as the first. Sad. Next track, Wonderland. It could be a loveletter to Rajon Rondo. Could these be even more specific than the first record's paeans? Is this why they are cloaked in a generic impenetrableness? Possibly. But she's a ravenous polar bear now and it isn't the same as wanting to be in his arms when the music ends is it? It is not. Rajon Rondo deserves a tribute band, certainly not a tribute indiepop band. This is not it. We're just listening and praying for rain. "...and I don't care". Hmmmm...the next track is Tallulah and perhaps it is the pace of the majority that has clouded the storytelling that we once found so enchanting. Enchantment is a frightening thing. I am enchanted at the moment. I can't see the world for the disaster it is because I have hope and faith and it all emanates from one person who has reached through the miasma of mediocrity and I may even soon be able to peer into a mirror in public at a distance greater than a few centimeters. Tallulah is her favorite Go Betweens record? Ir merely the most convenient metaphor? But the power of music to catapult one away from the exigencies of your current existence into a day dreamed far away. "i'm wonder if I have met all the people that will mean something". Sadness. Another rollicking chiming guitar track follows, it is difficult to mean so much at such a volume. James Hetfield isn't reaching into his soul is he, he's got hammers where is heart should be and bread pudding where his head should be attached. Elizabeth isn't yet made of bread pudding but her Swedish travelogue has now become a lament reminiscent to the Lucksmiths nostalgic geography(again) and cartesianism. She just wants me. She's never been cool. She was. Oh she was so irresistibly cool. She still is. This is a lovely track. It's just that other Schiavones like the Pocketbooks or the Language of Flowers can be this generically pleasant. Allo Darlin' are meant for greater places in the pantheon of indiepop endearment. Still Young. Again with the rock and roll. It sounds American, or worse, gasp! Could she really be Australian after all and not this cosmopolitan citizen purveyor of the world's delights? The horror of such imaginings can not be overstated. This one is based on a groove, probably written by the drummer. Did the band write these tracks? Is this another strike against democracy to be recounted by the heirs of Will Durant in future Volume 11 of the history of civilization? When discussing the temporal reign of Benedict in the early 21st century and Allo Darlin' listed alongside Damien Hirst and Aaron Sorkin as the leading lights of a benighted age. My favorite record by the Go Betweens is the usual, none, they're dreadful. Truly. They rank with Felt and the Michael Heads of the world as entirely without merit in my heart. My heart has thawed recently and it burst forth with hibiscus and althea blossoms at the moment but not nearly verdant and febrile enough to overcome some biases. This track feels like some sort of centerpiece to the album. Is it? It's difficult to judge it's worth still and this is the 33rd time that I have listened to this album. My Sweet Friend. Gah, even the pop stars are nameless. It was Michael Jackson presumably, mention it, call your friend Mary or Isobel or Davin and carry the listener at least into an idealized version of life as a minor pop star in London. These are just words lifted from a piece of paper, it isn't a live pressed between a grooves. She's reminiscent of the importance of pop music's association with all of the moments in life worth sharing and yet her threads have spun away from the central axis of her and her magnetic personality. I don't want her as just the singer in a band. Take a moment and think back to the show in that suburb of Minneapolis, the young girl who wrote poems about you on her earrings and baked waffle cones for inmates who train seeing eye dogs for the blind. Let us move away from you and her and him and some famous some such or other, make a record for your friends and share it with a world desperate to be a part of your circle. Please. ,