Winter Sun

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8.00
winter sun

In December, 2016 Allo Darlin' played a  farewell concert in front of a thousand lucky fans at London's Scala. It was a bit sad and a bit joyful, much like the music  the band had given us over the previous six or so years. But all good things come to an end, and luckily they are sometimes followed by new beginnings. In the case of Allo Darlin', we've already had fine solo albums from Bill Botting and Mikey Collins and now it's the turn of Elizabeth Morris, Allo Darlin's driving force. She's teamed up with Ola Innset from Making Marks (who had previously toured with Allo Darlin' back in 2014) to form Elva.  After listening to opening track "Athens", you'd be forgiven for thinking that absoluetly nothing has changed in the world of Elizabeth Morris. Fans will certainly enjoy the nostalgic and evocative words along with the joyous shuffling beat that kicks in part way through. It's an absolute gem. However, unlike most of Morris' previous output, this album is a collaborative effort and there's a clear division of songwriting going on. Morris and Innset seem to take it in turns with each track, so after the wistful, breezy summertime pop of "Athens", we get "Tailwind" with Innset on lead vocals, a more motoric, but equally blissed-out number with gorgeous warm organ which is quite reminiscent of Candida Doyle's work on Pulp's His n Hers. On "Dreaming With Our Feet" it's back again to Morris and the band go off on an alt-country tangent, but again, this is followed up by an Innset song ("Ghostwriter") which increases the tempo by a notch and also adds a crunching guitar break-down. As well as the two songwriters' input we also get some beautiful orchestral arrangements courtesy of Dan Mayfield on violin and Ofelia Østrem Ossum on cello. The band is completed by Diego Ivars on bass and Jørgen Nordby on drums and there's even get a final Allo Darlin' link as the record has been produced by Michael Collins. Lyrically the album seems to deal with optimism and sadness, pushing slightly more towards the optimism side, which is very welcome indeed. Unsurprisingly the themes include parenthood (Morris and Innset also have a daughter together) which is most overtly referenced on the sweetly simple "Everything Is Strange". Here we come back to that light/dark balance and the need for change, no matter how sad that might seem. The idea of "flying the nest" here seem to parallel the demise of Allo Darlin' and Making Marks. Winter Sun is an impressive, meandering debut, and whilst the band don't fully abandon their previous directions, after an initial hit of nostalgia, they start to plough their own furrow. It's good to have them back.