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Friday, Sept. 21, 2007
As the vocalist of One Dove, the Glasgow trio that charmed club music aficionados with a mix of 1960s pop and dub atmospherics, Dot Allison occupied an appropriate perch from which to coo and simper.
Since 1997, Allison's been on her own as a solo act, but her reputation has been based more on her work as a contract singer with other artists, in particular Massive Attack, Death in Vegas and Pete Doherty, who has called her a "genius child locked in the attic of the music industry." That makes it sound as if Allison is some kind of recluse. Granted, she's only released three albums, and each one demonstrates a distinctive brand of pop craftsmanship.
"Afterglow" (1999) was a true singer's showcase, ranging from Sundays-like jangle to dream-pop to Memphis soul. "We Are Science" (2002) attacked electronica, eschewing narrative for pure vocal textures. Her brand new album, "Exaltation of Larks," is a return of sorts to her folk-pop roots, though it goes even deeper into that realm than One Dove did.
Working with indie producer Kramer (Galaxie 500, Low, Daniel Johnston), Allison still coos and simpers with the best, but there's less instrumental clutter and electronic fog to cut through. Thus her performance should sound more like what she does on record, but since she so rarely plays live on her own it's difficult to know, and you'll only have two chances to find out when she comes to Japan this weekend.
Dot Allison plays: Sept. 22, 5 p.m. at Tower Records Shinjuku 7F Event Space (free with purchase of "Exaltation of Larks"); and Sept. 23, 6:30 p.m., at Shibuya O-Nest Tokyo (¥3,500 in advance;  3462-4420)