Europe

"You said a record is not just a record/Records can hold memories," Elizabeth Morris sighs on a wistful ballad called "My Sweet Friend." It’s an apt thesis for her U.K. band's second disc of sparkling indie-pop love songs. Morris' narrators use music to measure their lives: hunting for a bar that has Toots and the Maytals on the jukebox, missing a friend who loves the Silver Jews, cheering on a pal's riot-grrrl band. Allo Darlin's sound is less scattered than those name-checks might suggest, fitting squarely within a tradition that honors the Smiths and Belle and Sebastian above all. What sets them apart are Morris' understated wit – "They could name a star after you and you'd still be complaining," she sings on "Neil Armstrong" – and the clear enthusiasm of her bandmates, who hurtle through every jangly chord change like they're falling into a new romance.

Listen to 'Europe':

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Photos: Random Notes

From The Archives Issue 1160: July 5, 2012
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