Date: 05-21-12 22:18
I got sidetracked a few weeks ago, and never mentioned the wonderful show I saw at the Black Cat by Aussie-via-UK twee-pop band, Allo Darlin'. Half of the band, including singer and songwriter Elizabeth Morris, are Australian; the other half from Kent. She's a charmingly lilting singer, and a gifted ukulelist and guitarist, whose songs circle around homesickness, tentative affections, and the search for comfort in unfamiliar surroundings. The current album, Europe, is about touring the continent, finding opportunities for love and friendships, and pining for a faraway home. The single, "Capriconia" - also the title of a Midnight Oil album - is about recollections of Queensland from the far northern climes, and it leapt out of my earphones on a podcast a few weeks before their tour of the States. It hits all of my soft spots - shimmering guitars that could've been borrowed from the Lilac Time or the Sarah Records bands, sweetly optimistic singing, and pop smarts evident in every hook and bridge.
Morris is in the Tender Trap with Amelia Fletcher, probably the godmother of twee pop (Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research), but she's got plenty of individual charm of her own. Her music is warmer, more shimmery than the twee ancestral fare from Britain - and unabashedly Australian. She isn't exactly rewriting Men At Work's "Down Under," but makes a fond allusion in one song to hearing a Go-Betweens album in a faraway country, jokingly refers to the novelty of "swimming in water where nothing can kill me" in Europe, and throws in enough Queensland references for the Australian Tourism Bureau to find some good material to work with.
Morris is at her best when her lyrics have her exploring risky new territory: "Some People Say" is a heartwarming and tender of the possible first stages of romance; "My Heart is a Drummer" is a breathlessly enthusiastic and cockeyed rewrite of - yes, listen to it - "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun."
It's fair to see that Morris is one of the most kindhearted personalities I've met at a show in awhile. The show at the back stage of the Black Cat was mobbed, due to enthusiastic previews in the Washington Post and Pitchfork , but she spent scads of time chatting with everyone and autographing 45s and CDs. I bought their latest album, which she happily signed, and listened to it all the way home. Next morning, I couldn't find my wallet, but troublingly did find my change loose in my pocket. Freaking out, I put credit cards on hold, and called the Black Cat and emailed the band on the chance I had left my wallet at the merch table. They didn't have it, but Elizabeth emailed back, alerted her tour manager to ask around, and tweeted to their several thousand followers. And then I found the wallet in my son's dresser. No harm, no foul.
Post Edited (05-21-12 22:19)