Dot Allison - Afterglow
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Dot Allison
Afterglow

Despite her relatively young age, Dot Allison is already making her first comeback. About 6 years back, she released an album as vocalist with the group One Dove (and worked with Andrew Weatherall) before the group dropped into obscurity (if they weren't already). Within the past year, though, she did vocal duties on a track of the most recent Death In Vegas release before releasing her very own solo debut album.

It's pretty much what you might expect, although it works even better than her previous groups effort, partially perhaps due to some of the people that she works with on the disc (Mani of Stone Roses, Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine, and B.J. Cole). It's a drifting trip-hop album with beats that never go above mid tempo and plenty of atmosphere, both in vocals and instruments.

The disc actually starts out with one of the more moving songs on the album, and "Colour Me" not only grooves along with a nice bassline and some spacey keyboard sweeps, but the layered chorus vocals (including one slighty vocodored one) give the track a more substantial feel than a lot of the other dreamy tracks that make up the bulk of the disc. The second disc goes right into more trippy territory with the underwater feel of "Tomorrow Never Comes." With a couple layers of guitars (including pedal steel by B.J. Cole), sonar blips, and no percussion to speak of, you should definitely not be operating heavy equipment while listening to it.

"Close Your Eyes" takes sort of a pseudo-spy theme (replete with cheesy gun sound effects) and although it's probably the most radio-friendly track, it's also the most overt and doesn't work as well as more subdued efforts. One of these is the mantra-like vocals of "Message Personnel" over the guitarwork of the aforementioned Shields. It's restrained and although semi-repetitive, it works quite well. The rest of the album never really goes too upbeat again, save the twangy guitar and slick beat on "Mo' Pop." Whether it's the spooky sounding "I Wanna Feel The Chill," or the Middle-Eastern influence on "Morning Sun," the album always has plenty of interesting textures going on.

Allison has always been less of a crooner and more of an ethereal, breathy singer, and the music wisely never overpowers her. Of course, this could be a problem, depending on whether or not you want an album that will play in the background of a lazy day, or something that will draw you in a little deeper. If you're looking for something more beat driven, head elsewhere, but if you want an atmospheric pop album with dreamy vocals, this will suffice.

rating: 710
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00