The darlings of the UK's indiepop scene, Allo Darlin' 2nd album Europe follows on from their critically acclaimed and hugely successful self-titled debut. The London-based four-piece ' led by Australian songbird Elizabeth Morris, with guitarist Paul Rains, Bill Botting on the bass and Michael Collins on drums ' create perfect, sophisticated pop gems and know how to put on a joyous, effervescent, fun-filled live show.
Having built up an intensely loyal and ever-increasing fanbase, Allo Darlin's reputation has developed at its own pace, from just one girl strumming a ukulele to headlining London's Scala and touring all over the world. In their brief lifetime they have toured the USA four times, sold out tours across the UK, embarked on an epic five-week European tour and played shows across the United States. The band have been strongly supported by BBC 6music, recording several sessions including one at the BBC's prestigious Maida Vale Studios as Steve Lamacq's personal choice for BBC Introducing.
Their self-titled debut was released to universal acclaim with plaudits including being named No. 2 record of the year by online retailer eMusic and a glowing 1,200 word essay by legendary Go-Between Mr. Robert Forster in the Australian critical magazine The Monthly. Achingly personal, incredibly poignant and familiar all at once, Elizabeth Morris' songwriting has deepened and developed since their debut, although they've lost none of their ability to create sophisticated, intelligent pop music with an uplifting, joyous feel. There's a sense though that the feel of the new record, Europe, reflects the changes in the world since their debut in 2009 ' with riots and protests across the globe and a deepening feeling of gloom, a carefree album didn't seem appropriate.
Singer Elizabeth Morris explains: I wanted to make beautiful songs and end up with a beautiful album, not necessarily an album full of three minute pop songs¦ the songs have an awareness of a darker place but end up coming out the other side. Already confirmed as Rough Trade's Album of the Month for May, Europe is chock full of memorable songs including the first single "Capricornia", which conjures up the bleached sunlight of summer in the area from which Elizabeth hails in Australia.
Then there's the title track and next single "Europe", a celebration of the togetherness that pulled the band through a disastrous tour of the continent last year, when noxious fumes in their tour van nearly put paid to them altogether. There's the epic Still Young, the song that their friends The Wave Pictures refer to as their Born To Run, the wonderful "Northern Lights" about spending New Year's Eve in Sweden and Wonderland, the last song written for the album and one of the band's favourites. Perhaps the two best songs on the album are the ballads.
If Elizabeth describes the extraordinary "Tallulah" as "probably the best song I've written", then Some People Say runs it close for sheer, heartfelt emotion. Gloriously catchy, brilliantly uplifting and charmingly intelligent, Europe promises to be one of the most exciting albums of the year, with Allo Darlin' pleasing their existing loyal fanbase as well as winning over hoards of new admirers. The album is proof that Allo Darlin' will be one of THE bands to watch out for in 2012.
1. Neil Armstrong
4. Some People Say
5. Northern Lights
8. The Letter
9. Still Young
10. My Sweet Friend