Dot Allison

Dot Allison

We Are Science

Mantra

An electronically produced countryside lit by amorphous drops of color.

Much synth-pop is the sound of boffins in their bedrooms imagining the state of the cool world outside their windows, and that is the source of much of its charm. But Dot Allison sounds like someone who wants a little bit more than that.

Temperate and strange, eerie alterna-pop/rock driven by Casio trip-hop, retro New Wave sounding keyboards, We Are Science is strikingly gorgeous and powerful. It’s also just a little bit cheesy (but in a good way), as though you were watching Patsy Kensit star in Breaking The Waves.

What is it like? Like this:

It’s gotten awfully dark in the disco, and you’re looking around for your friends, your little group that has always been and always will until the end. When suddenly a breathy voice whispers, “We are (only) science,” and you start thinking about how many of your emotions actually derive from biological need.

As the music goes on, so do you, remembering your days in high school and that old synthesizer you experimented with (and wondering what drugs the bass player is on). The dark, yet poppy, yet melancholy ambience begins to get under your skin and soon you’re having distinct thoughts about joining a cult for this woman. And wondering what a Doctor Who soundtrack by Burning Sensations might have sounded like (just me?).

Are there flaws? To be sure, though some of them are more to do with packaging than the product: The lyrics are not included (though they can easily be found on one or two Web sites) and Allison’s voice is a little too hidden in the mix for my tastes sometimes. However, a trip to one of those Web sites suggests that leaving people guessing as to what she is singing might not have been a bad idea at that. “You Can Be Replaced” is not exactly “What’s Going On.”

Still, Allison is one of the most advantageous musicians I have heard in a while, and this CD is most becoming.

P.S.: This release comes with two bonus tracks listed as “U.S. only,” which is a bit naughty as they seem to be on the French version as well (but why pick?). The first is a more disco-styled (I’m not kidding, you can sing “Funkytown” to the opening beats of this thing) remix of the song “Substance.” This adds some much-needed boing to the clapped-out drum machine bop of the version that precedes it. The second is a “Slam Remix” of the title track, which burbles along like Moby jamming with 808 State.

Dot Allison: http://www.alwaysontherun.net/dot.htm

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