zaterdag 5 december 2015

Allo Darlin': Only Dust Behind b/w Dear John and Kings And Queens (UK, Where It's At Is Where You Are, wiaiwya049, 2012)



2012 was a very good year for Christmas singles, if you ask me. Several very strong Christmas singles have been released that year, and I am pretty sure I will feature some of those later in this blog. But my favorite Christmas single of 2012 was definitely the single by UK indie pop band Allo Darlin'. Allo Darlin' is fronted by Elizabeth Morris, who lives, like the rest of the band, in London, but she is orginally from Australia. She is not exactly the first Australian musician who leaves Australia for England, as the UK has much more opportunities for aspiring musicians than the big country down under.

Allo Darlin' started as Elizabeth's solo recording project and her very first recording was a Christmas EP (self released on CD-R), recorded in her bedroom, with Elizabeth's voice and a ukelile as the main instruments. Later, Allo Darlin' became a real band, when Elizabeth was joined by fellow Australian Bill Botting on bass and jumps, Paul Rains on guitar (and sometimes lapsteel) and Michael Collins on drums, both of who are originally from Kent. After some great 7”'s with clever lyrics ('Henry Rollins Don't Dance' from their first 7'is a personal favorite), including a re-recording of the song 'Spend New Year's Eve With Me' from the debut Christmas EP on the B-side of the single 'The Polaroid Song', Allo Darlin' released its first self-titled album in 2010 on Fortuna Pop, followed after two years and much touring by their second album, 'Europe'. Both albums I can really recommended.

I first heard about the band's Christmas single at the show they did in Paradiso, Amsterdam, in November 2012. One of the last songs they played was announced as being from their soon-to-be-released Christmas single. That song, titled 'Kings And Queens', did not sound like a Christmas song. At home, I checked the internet, and I found out this single was part of the Where It's At Is Where You Are 7 singles club – 7 singles released on the 7th day of 7 months in 2012. The Allo Darlin' was the seventh and last single in the row, and was scheduled to be released on the 7th of December 2012. The 7” was supposed to have three songs, besides 'Kings And Queens', the last song on side B, also 'Only Dust Behind' on side A and 'Dear John' as the second song on side B. 'Dear John', the only song that could be listened on the Bandcamp of the label, was a sweet song, but it also had no Christmas references. Still, being a big fan of Allo Darlin', I ordered the single – and I was happy to, because all 777 copies, pressed on red vinyl, were gone very soon.

I received the single in time for Christmas, and found out the only song I did not know yet, 'Only Dust Behind', was indeed a Christmas song – and what a song it was! It did not have a Christmas sounding title, nor any bells, but it did have great lyrics, and a sound effect in the instrumental parts of the song, that I could not really define (in my fantasy, I could imagine it was the sound of stars travelling through the sky, or the sound of the view of fireworks). Together it really gave the song a Christmas feel. In the lyrics, Elizabeth paints a typical London Christmas picture, with rain instead of snow, a man on the Underground with a Santa head, singing songs of The Pogues and a yuppie girl with champagne, on 'an afternoon that feels like morning'. But it all is okay, as 'last night, we were shooting stars, we were leaving only dust behind'.... the musical accompaniment is sparse and simple, and it sung by Elizabeth in a soft and somewhat flat voice, which works very well with the music and the lyrics, and give the song a melancholic feeling – and Christmas is the time of the year one is allowed to feel melancholic. But not for too long, of course, as Christmas is a celebration of light! Anyway, instead of telling you what the lyrics are about, it's better to let the lyrics speak for themselves...

When the afternoon feels like morning
And my ears ring like a song
And my hair smells of smoke
And I can taste
the drink on the back of my tongue

Put down your phone
Turn off the TV
And come on over to me
And if I was ready
to get lost tonight
in the street filled with rain
reflecting the Christmas lights
And if I was ready
to get lost tonight
in the street filled with rain
reflecting the Christmas lights

Dear sister,
Don't let me down
And meet me on the Underground
There is a man over there
With a Santa hat on
Singing all the Pogues songs he knows
There is a girl over there
Who looks like a laywer
Throwing champaign up in her hair

And if I was ready
to get lost tonight
in the street filled with rain
reflecting the Christmas lights
And if I was ready
to get lost tonight
in the street filled with rain
reflecting the Christmas lights

Last night we were shooting stars
We were leaving only dust behind

All three songs on the 7” were recorded by Giles Barrett in the Summer of 2012 in Soup Studios. The other two songs are also great so this is a Christmas single, that will be on my turntable many times, both at Christmas time and and other times through the year!

Fortunately, for everyone that was too late to get the single, the songs can still be listened on the Bandcamp page of the band:
Allo Darlin 7777777 Single Bandcamp

Or listen to 'Only Dust Behind' on Youtube:

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