Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Allo Darlin'

  • Allo Darlin' [Fortuna Pop, 2010] A-
  • Europe [Slumberland, 2012] A-
  • We Come From the Same Place [Slumberland, 2014] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Allo Darlin' [Fortuna Pop, 2010]
"Twee" is such a screwy synonym for "concrete." True, transplanted Londoner Elizabeth Morris does sport a fetching murmur that's rather sexy if like me you're attracted to cinemaphiles who appreciate kissing, and her attendant g-b-d do tend toward strum and clatter. But she's not as dreamy or small as "twee" implies--her "heart is as strong as a drummer," exactly. She's rooted, sensible, manifestly on top of the facts and possibilities of her life as it is, which since she's still young and relatively privileged include cooking chili with her sweety and swimming in Sweden in the summertime. In short, she's getting it while she can and knows it. If this band thing doesn't work out--as it probably will for a time, because she has the tunes--she can put off finishing that "legal vocation." Then she'll go back to school and join a professional class that doesn't command as much slack as it used to either. A-

Europe [Slumberland, 2012]
The magic of the debut wasn't just that thing that happens with young bands when everything is new and bliss is just around the corner. It's that Elizabeth Morris recognized this illusion as an illusion and entered wholeheartedly into its ebullience anyway. But now the Old World's cold weather and cramped spaces are getting her down--her most irresistible new song, taken solo with ukulele, recalls a blistering summer day down under when they found a Go-Betweens tape in the car. Though her tempos have slowed half a turn, reducing the twee factor if that was a problem for you, her melodies are still very much there and her lyrics are sharp throughout. But she's no longer at all confident that talent will out or love endures--her "This is life, this is livin'" is more resigned than celebratory, copping to her suspicion that a great night in bed will never be repeated. So let me assure her that at least she hasn't "already met all the people that'll mean something." Some of them haven't even been born yet. And I don't mean the kids I bet she's not sure she'll ever have. A-

We Come From the Same Place [Slumberland, 2014]
Elizabeth Morris seeks only to find fame as our mellifluous songpoet of sane love--modest fame, because sane she is. If you're one of the modest number who think it possible to make unfailingly tuneful, moderately uptempo Rickenbacker-rock of such poetic strokes as "I think you're brave," "I wanted to impress you," "I am grateful for that," and "Please believe me I've never said this before," you will love her with all the suspension your disbelief can muster. If you don't, she's too good for you. The latter isn't great for her numbers and she knows it. But she'll settle. A-