Dot Allison’s blend of dub and torchy pop made One Dove one of the more intriguing acts to come out of Scotland in the 1990s. Happily, Allison hasn’t forgotten her roots on Afterglow, her debut solo effort. Opening with “Colour Me,” Allison is inhabiting the moody, off-kilter electronic torch music space that Björk has patented. Sandwiched between the rather dancey “Colour Me” and “Close Your Eyes” is the sensitive balladry of “Tomorrow Never Comes,” which could almost be a country song with slightly different instrumentation.
Allison is something of a rarity in the genre broadly labelled dance or electronica. She’s neither a DJ slapping together bits and pieces of other artists’ works nor a smiling diva, mindlessly whipping the dancefloor punters into a frenzy, with throbbing synthesizer breakbeats in the background. Allison is an honest-to-goodness songwriter and musician who uses electronic elements as just another tool in her multi-faceted arsenal of musical implements. The liner notes bear witness to her versatility, listing her as offering keyboards, programming, guitar, and organ.
“Morning Sun” typifies the instrumental variety that renders Afterglow such an engaging listen. Mellow, shuffling beats, sitar-sounding synthesizer parts, melancholy piano, and hushed vocals rapidly ferry you away into a dreamy trance. Meanwhile, Allison pairs up with one of her long-time heros, Hal David (legendary Burt Bacharach collaborator), on the affecting “Did I Imagine You?”
If nothing else, Afterglow proves that Allison is primed to survive all the passing fads in electronic music and will thrive in a solo career based on exemplary songwriting and endless inventiveness.