Dot Allison was somewhat constrained in early ‘90s trip-hop outfit One Dove,
yet there was no avoiding being seduced by her Sarah Cracknell-meets-Julee
Cruise voice. Four solo albums into the game, she’s never less than delightful,
and Room 7 ½, co-produced by Allison
and Rob Ellis of PJ Harvey fame and featuring guest appearances by Paul Weller,
Pete Doherty and members of the Bad Seeds, marks a culmination of all the
potential she’s displayed to date.
The record’s a diverse affair, featuring piano-powered pop, loamy,
psychedelic-tinged folkrock and haunting slices of ethereal chamber music. Yet
it’s the most uncharacteristic tune here that emerges as most memorable: “Jonny
Villain, a chilling Celtic-flavored murder ballad whose stylistic turnaround (for
Allison) brings to mind the way Natalie Merchant startled fans a few years ago
when she plunged deep into Americana.
Ultimately the album unfolds gradually, over repeated listens, and over time.
Open the door and see what awaits within.
Villain,” “Paved With A Little Pain” FRED MILLS