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Dot Allison - Exaltation of Larks

Dot Allison, Exaltation of Larks

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

DOT Allison has always been one to do things differently. For 2002’s We Are Science, she abandoned the traditional use of the voice in song-structure and instead used it purely as an instrument often creating repetitive riffs, washes and pedals.

She also teamed up with Massive Attack for two world tours, singing with them and supporting them, and even indulged Pete Doherty on his Bilo Albion acoustic tour in early 2004, just after The Libertines split.

Her aim, by her own admission, is to create music that inspires art-lovers to write their own material, rather than pandering to the easy fix cheesiness supplied by the Capital Radio playlist.

Her songs require listening and she makes no apology for it. And when she gets it right, the results can be spectacular – such as the recent Beneath The Ivy EP.

New album Exaltation Of Larks is designed to be a collection of pre-psychedelic, harmony-soaked love songs that set her delicate vocals against a backdrop of subtle beats and swirling strings. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite combine to create the breathtaking whole she was anticipating.

Her voice is beautiful, make no mistake, and helps to create an ethereal quality to much of the album. But you can get too much of a good thing at times, and the result is somewhat underwhelming.

Opening song Allelujah, for instance, falls into the same trap that reduced a lot of the new Sinead O’Connor material to average. It’s a little too slow for its own good, a little too deliberate and just needs winding up.

Thief Of Me improves things with some lovely guitar woven in between her contemplative vocals, while Sunset does exactly what it says on the label, creating an idyllic sky-gazer of shimmering beauty.

Later on, Quicksand combines acoustic guitar, banjo and ethereal vocals to beguiling effect (especially when Allison layers the harmonies), and The Latitude And Longitude Of Mystery trades on some bright Beach Boys-based vocal harmonising and a livelier beat and melody to usher things to a satisfying close.

But for long sections, the album becomes stuck in an overly pensive rut and feels in need of some urgency. Beautiful in small doses, it disappoints as a whole. But Allison remains an interesting performer and her reputation survives intact.

Download picks: Thief Of Me, Sunset, Quicksand, The Latitude And Longitude Of Mystery

Track listing:

  1. Allelujah
  2. Thief Of Me
  3. Sunset
  4. In Deep Water
  5. You Dropped Your Soul
  6. M’Aidez Call
  7. Tall Flowers
  8. Quicksand
  9. Shivering
  10. The Latitude And Longitude Of Mystery