From the backdrop of a ukulele riff opening Allo Darlin’s third LP We Come From the Same Place, it is understandable to think that this will be 40 minutes of unashamed jangly guitar pop. And that appears to be the case on first glance, with ‘Heartbeat’ relying on Elizabeth Morris’ sweet vocals and ukulele plucking to create a sickly or lovely atmosphere, depending on what you’re into. This notion is followed later in ‘Bright Eyes’, a song completely eclipsing “Heartbeat” in the cutesy-wutesy stakes. Morris forms a duet with guitarist Paul Rains in the chorus; “Do you believe in love?/I will if you ask me to”, making the record’s opener seem bitter in comparison. Yet the surprising crunchy guitar solo on Morris and Rains’ sugar-sweet fest shows that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Or an album by its sugar-drenched opener.
Not all tracks are as twee, and are deeper than the floaty surf-pop sounds suggest. ‘Kings and Queens’ is twee, but tells a catchy story of Morris playing gigs for the fun of it, rather than to entertain raucous drunken students. This highlight of the record is quickly followed with high-pitched guitar strings on the album’s title track, another strong one to put away the belief that the album will just be eleven dainty three and a half minute long songs.
‘Half Heart Necklace’ is the heaviest song on the record, not a difficult feat by any stretch of the imagination, but the loud guitar riffs stand out and give Allo Darlin’ a platform to expand on and differentiate themselves from the ever-expanding dream-pop market. ‘Romance and Adventure’ is a similarly fast-paced ditty, albeit slightly muted, but Morris’ intentionally unenthusiastic vocals in the chorus – “I’m just tired of being strong” – really make this song another ‘Kings and Queens’. Yet for every track like this the ukulele returns, and the final track, ‘Another Year’, can only be described as a perfectly acceptable slow-paced curtain closer.
So for those of you with a sugar intolerance, you may want to stay away from this record, perhaps only delving in to sample the odd ukulele-free track. But for their fans, Allo Darlin’ have released yet another stellar LP. If only this summer-pop album were actually released in the summer, their fanbase might have considerably expanded.