Allo Darlin’ tackle important issues. The video to ‘My Heart is a Drummer’ shows two people in oversized cardboard hearts playing table tennis. Their lyrics include ‘I sent you a postcard from Berlin, of a fat man eating a sausage’. Europe doesn’t strive to be serious, but it possesses a quality superior to any ‘twee-pop’ stereotypes.
This is not an album simply evoking idyllic summer days and the happiness of youth. The refreshingly clean instrumentation veils in an almost euphoric haze some of the real sentiments present. In ‘Tallulah’, the sparsest song on the album, Morris’ pessimism and pain are most manifest. She wistfully reminisces over previous summer outings, ‘It’s been a long time since I’ve seen all my old friends’, yet still attempts to be optimistic: ‘I really love my new friends feel I’ve known them a long while’. However, negativity permeates through Europe, providing contrasts with the happiness and making Allo Darlin’s music far more intricate and enjoyable than that of many twee-pop acts who describe the world with an offensively fanciful view. They possess a realistic nostalgia and a clear understanding of life’s ability to fluctuate from exhilarating to oppressive.
Excessive layers of instruments do not dominate, the playful guitar sings alongside Morris, wandering off to higher reaches before reconnecting in a charming manner. Violin, reminiscent of Lanterns on the Lake, mirrors the lyrics’ sadness, while steel guitar complements positive images. Morris’ voice combines the charm of Zooey Deschanel’s with an aching vulnerability, making her less Hollywood and more human.
Allo Darlin’ have maintained the endearing warmth and excitement of an over-populated genre yet kept a firm understanding of life and included a wide spectrum of emotions. Europe is an exquisite summer record that pleases in the background and intrigues upon closer inspection.