DOT ALLISON - New album 'Heart-shaped Scars' - out now via SA Recordings
Photo Credit: Maria Mochnacz
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"Verses feel like they’re emerging from then disappearing into mist as they pass by, instrumentation is so delicate as to feel like drops of water, and Allison’s voice – always tending to the pure, but occasionally on previous records rising to a haunting wail – is so soft as to feel almost textureless. And it is absolutely, rivetingly magical." - The Arts Desk
"The resulting album bears a tender, yet, eerie sound in the vein of Paul Giovanni and Magnet’s music for the 1973 film The Wicker Man." -Audiofemme
“…impeccably eerie and oddly familiar….Allison seems out on her own with her fragile voice. While Heart-Shaped Scars might not be the first flowering of such wistful folk mysteries, it brings a good harvest.”
“Dot Allison reconnects with her pastoral folk-pop muse on this elegantly understated comeback….stand out numbers include the spine-tingling waltz ‘Can You Hear Nature Sing?’ with its exquisitely entwined vocal harmonies.” - UNCUT
“Gorgeous, bucolic folk." - Brooklyn Vegan
"Allison's emotions are clarified and delicately rise to the surface as she imbues a wistful longing to the versus ("hollowed seed/occasional thorn...") and a bittersweet wryness on the chorus secions."
"the simple and serene march forward of each track progressing towards a sense of something very nearly holy." - A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed
"Dot Allison is a candid and sensitive artist who weaves little mini-stories that sound precious and beautiful but have intelligent, brave, and thoughtful lyrics. Allison’s intimate vocals are backed by a fuller orchestration with a thrilling chorus that’s achingly beautiful with a moving string section equal parts informal and epic."
"Deeply moving, highly thought-provoking, and eerily beautiful, Heart-Shaped Scars is Allison’s introspective love letter to nature that invites listeners to live vicariously through her spiritual fusion with the earth."
Dot Allison will always be identified with the band that initially launched her, One Dove, whose Andy Weatherall-produced album Morning Dove White became a downbeat electronic landmark, but her own albums and collaborations amount to a much more significant body of work, with a commanding range across genres and narrative ambition. “The records that I have made were more like a window into my world,” she says. None more so than her first album in 12 years, out today — Heart-Shaped Scars. Tranquil in sound and passionate in spirit it's Allison’s most personal record yet. Framed by a backdrop of exquisitely sparse and intoxicating dream-folk and Allison’s vocal at its most ethereal, the album is, she reveals about “Love, loss and a universal longing for union that seems to go with the human condition.”
Heart-Shaped Scars gathers many threads of Allison’s broad interests – not just musical but literary, philosophical & her interest in science and nature. Allison’s father was a botanist, and her mother a musician; eventually, the DNA of music took this former bio-chemistry student in a very different direction – and with good reason too.
Dot sees certain flowers almost like visual metaphors for certain organs that all species share. Through out the album she references plants, the seasons, flowers, fertility, cyclical patterns and a haunting that may follow a decay & some dark visceral imagery, all evoking Dot’s vision for “a pure kind of album that musically imbues a return to nature. I wanted it to be comforting like a familiar in-utero heartbeat.”
Recorded at Castlesound Studios in Edinburgh - Dot’s home town, the album is produced by Allison alongside Fiona Cruickshank. Recent Mercury Prize nominee Hannah Peel adds string arrangements to four songs that accompany Dot's imaginative lyrics, courtesy of a quintet of Scottish folk musicians.
On the album Allison not only oversees all vocal arrangements, she plays ukulele, piano, 12 string guitar, mellotron, keyboards, hubble kalimba & Phone-Home Xylophone, Treated Keys & Harmonium. Field recordings of birdsong, rivers and the ambience of The Hebrides - where Dot has a cottage - also played their part. A location for gatherings amongst folk musician pals (Sarah Campbell and Amy Bowman included on 'The Haunted'), “sharing ideas and passing instruments between us all, amongst friends and the island community,” says Allison. “It’s where I first sang the album's first single 'Long Exposure’ in public at a folk house-concert." It's the first song Dot wrote on a ukulele.
The sessions also include a collaboration with singer songwriter Zoë Bestel. Dot wrote a poem about a love ending with the metaphor of autumn decaying into winter. During that songwriting session she pulled the poem up and they harvested it very heavily for imagery and turned it into the albums' second single, ‘Can You Hear Nature Sing?’
The album's third single, 'One Love’ is a song about someone feeling unsure in a relationship, needing reassurance. "The flower metaphors are rare flowers used to signify a rare, precious, all encompassing love. Blood Camellia suggests flesh, veins and a pulse, Fire Lilies imbue a sense of passion and Juliette Rose seems to hint at Shakespeare,”she adds. A video for this single directed by PJ Harvey's longtime visual collaborator Maria Mochnacz will soon follow.
Heart-Shaped Scars may have the richness and metaphorical depth of poetry but it’s balanced out by classic tropes of singer-songwriters through the ages. The sentiments behind ‘Cue The Tears’, ‘Love Died In Our Arms’ and ‘Goodbye’ are direct appeals from the heart; melodically too, they chime with torch-singing and soul traditions.
During the years Dot has collaborated with a variety of musicians including My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields, The Bad Seeds, Scott Walker (Sunn O))), Richard Fearless, Anton Newcombe of Brian Jonestown Massacre, Hal David, Paul Weller and 3D with Massive Attack who says Dot "Has a voice like honey."
On Heart-Shaped Scars Allison mines a deeply emotive seam. "To me, music is a sort of tonic or an antidote to a kind of longing, for a while at least,” she concludes.
Heart-Shaped Scars - Track List:
Since her debut solo album Afterglow in 1999, Allison has strived to, keep the listener on a journey – and herself too. She revolts against what she has done before, to evolve and not just occupy the same space. That journey has taken her from Afterglow’s broad church (trip-hop, Tim Buckley-esque ballads, dance tracks, chilled psychedelia) to the sultry synth-pop of We Are Science (2002), the lush, baroque Exaltation Of Larks (2007) and the eclectic, rootsy drama of Room 7½ (2009). The range of guest stars on Allison’s records is equally broad: where else would you find a cast list that includes Kevin Shields, Hal David, Paul Weller, Pete Doherty and Darren Emerson. Likewise, Allison’s own guest roles with the likes of Massive Attack, Scott Walker and Sunn O))), Slam, Philip Shepard, The Babyshambles & Pete Doherty, underlining the huge respect her peers hold her in.
Allison also hears elements of The Wicker Man film soundtrack (she once sung ‘Gently Johnny’ at Glastonbury) and the influence of folk-minded artists in her record collection, such as Linda Perhacs, Karen Dalton, Gene Clark, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Nick Drake, Opal, Mazzy Star, Brian Wilson and, most poignantly, the late Andy Weatherall. “Andy championed, signed and mentored me,” she says. “He gave me so many compilations that broadened my musical tastes… I hear his influence throughout all of my albums.”
Heart-Shaped Scars may have the richness and metaphorical depth of poetry but it’s balanced out by classic tropes of singer-songwriters through the ages. The sentiments behind ‘Cue The Tears’, ‘Love Died In Our Arms’ and ‘Goodbye’ are direct appeals from the heart; melodically too, they chime with torch-singing and soul traditions. Allison’s father was a botanist, and her mother a musician; eventually, the DNA of music took this former bio-chemistry student in a very different direction – and with good reason too. “To me, music is a sort of tonic or an antidote to a kind of longing, for a while at least,” she concludes.
Heart-Shaped Scars has that very same impact: an antidote to stress, a beautiful, restorative and inspiring balm for these times.
Source Sonic PR
July 30, 2021 12:59pm ET by Pressparty