Blissful “Sha-la-la-la-las” on the new single from the indiepop album of the summer
Written while visiting her parents on the Queensland Coast “If Loneliness Was Art” captures some of that Australian sea air with its laidback reggae-ish beach vibe and summery “Sha-la-la-la-las”. Listen carefully though and you’ll hear that the carefree disposition of the song masks a quiet despair and longing in the lyrics. As Elizabeth herself says, “It's about wanting somebody. Really really badly.”
Even if the British weather fails to cooperate, “If Loneliness Was Art” is going to bring a slice of Aussie pop sunshine to proceedings.
'If Loneliness Was Art' is the third single taken from Allo Darlin's self-titled debut album. The band are a four-piece led by ukulele playing, singer/songwriter Elizabeth Morris. The music press tends to categorise Allo Darlin's kind music as twee pop which is an unfortunately twee label to give to a particular genre. The worst of twee pop is a bit smarmy; the smouldering irony, the bubblegum melodies and the knowing doo-wops can be a bit fatuous. However, Allo Darlin' manage to undo twee pop's fetishisation of nostalgia and create a kind of homely pop music that exists in its own right.
After 'The Polaroid Song' and 'Dreaming', 'If Loneliness Was Art' tops off a trio of catchy singles from the band. This single shows Allo Darlin' at its most sultry and Morris' vocals effectively evoke some of the rapture of unrequited love. The rising scales of the bass and guitar could have been the music from an inferior b-side to 'My Girl' by "The Temptations"; nonetheless, that's still great and Morris' breezy ukulele strumming really holds the song together. Just before the sha-la-la-la's come in on the chorus, Morris declares "One fine day: I'm going to be your girl" and she really manages to evoke this kind of lovelorn, milkshake aesthetic.
Morris' smitten lyrics display keen observation and a playful sense of humour: "When I'm alone/ I find a map of the world/ zoom in to your island till the pixels form/ have some booze/ 'til I cant see you"; this is a modern love story indeed. She also declares that "you're so sensitive, in that jumper, in that t-shirt", the whole song is a bit of a swooning domestic yarn. Morris is all pop socks and grins, woolly jumper poetry and VHS love letters. This single manages to capture some of the giddiness and the melancholy of young love without being overly sentimental or self-conscious. It's all very charming. (Soundblab)