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AAA Music | 7 August 2020

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Allo Darlin’ – If Loneliness Was Art

| On 14, Aug 2010

Starting out with a tango-style guitar intro, ‘If Loneliness Was Art’ by Allo Darlin’ quickly establishes itself as a pop song in the Lilly Allen vein with a lo-fi twist, addressing a negligent companion with a bitterly sunny tone. The musicianship here is catchy as you’d want and solid, but no real flash is held within the upbeat hooks on piano and guitar, as drums tap out the rhythm further back in the mix. However, the vocals, while perhaps sticking a little too close to the cockney style du jour, are definitely tuneful with no trace of studio intervention to aid this, and the lyrics display some flashes of understated brilliance in lines such as: “If loneliness was art I could hang you from the wall”. The sha-la-la moments can grate a bit, especially when in contrast to the fragile verses, but overall this is an agreeably romantic song about unrequited love to while away the summer hours.

The b-side, ‘Girlfriend’, is tackling a similar subject, although in a much more overtly jealous fashion. The music on offer here is perhaps slightly more fleshed-out, with a well-used tambourine and more emphasis on the instruments in the mix (the a-side leaning a little too heavily on the vocals at times) with enough room for an instrumental and guitar solo for us rock fans in the room, and the percussion is much more audible, which given the involvement of some enjoyable clattering rhythms is appreciated, but the sound Allo Darlin’ have established is still very much intact: the vocals lead the way and do so with a simple yet well-told lyrical story, and the usual flashes of clever wording.

To call this groundbreaking just wouldn’t cut it, but what Allo Darlin’ do, whether or not it has been addressed by others previously, they do rather well.

Author: Katie H-Halinski