Anglo-Australian indiepoppers Allo Darlin’ played their first ever Brighton show at The Haunt back in the spring, ahead of the release of second album ‘Europe’. If their debut record found songwriter Elizabeth Morris still in honeymoon mode with her adopted London home, picking up fans with its whirl of choruses and pop culture namedropping, ‘Europe’ is a wiser record, thick with the experience of continental travel and aching with homesickness. It’s also even brighter than its predecessor, with vibrant, shimmering guitar melodies backing up Morris’ rich lyrical observations.
That Allo Darlin’ are deservedly a big deal in the indiepop heartlands of London and the north isn’t reflected in tonight’s turn out, despite some devoted young men down the front who’ve learnt every word and invented some interpretive dance moves to go with them. We’re surrounded by a fair size mid-week crowd, but do wonder whether the scarcity of the band’s Brighton visits has worked against them.
“Hey, is it true that Nick Cave lives in Brighton?” Morris asks at one point, fantasising that he could join her on jubilant duet ‘Dreaming’. Irrepressibly bouncy, handsomely moustached bassist Bill Botting – Allo Darlin’s other Aussie member – does the vocal honours instead, taking on the role performed on record by its co-writer, former Brighton boy about town and Pipettes mastermind, Monster Bobby.
The zippy ‘Northern Lights’ is dedicated to its namesake bar round the corner, where Morris and ever-spinning guitarist Paul Rains ate too many vegetables earlier in the day. ‘Capricornia’’s glorious adoption of the Kirsty MacColl pop sound satisfyingly becomes a companion piece to the late singer’s antipodean daydream ‘He’s On The Beach’. Switching back and forth between ukulele and guitar, Morris is a warm and lively frontwoman, although seemingly a little distracted tonight (maybe it was that veggie blow-out).
A quick encore before the early curfew concludes with joyous single ‘My Heart Is A Drummer’, Botting up on the drums, enjoying his disco bassline immensely. Afterwards, we amble to the merch table, and he and Morris have beaten us to it, cheerily flogging seven inches while adoring audience members chatter away. Some want their photos taken with tonight’s support too, Brighton’s 900 Spaces. It was that kind of night, good-natured and intimate.
The Haunt, Wednesday 12th September 2012
Words by Stuart Huggett
Photos by Carolyn Bristow