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We Are Science

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Album Review

Feeling that she had perfected dreamy swirling pop with Afterglow, Dot Allison edges toward electro dance territory and beyond on her sophomore album, We Are Science, and the results are nothing short of brilliant. Working the production boards herself, with some help from Two Lone Swordsmen's Keith Tenniswood, and contributors Mercury Rev and Death in Vegas, Allison looks back to Factory Records, Kraftwerk, and house music for inspiration. Alternately lush and lo-fi, the album seeks the trance-y dirges of Afterglow, but adds huge pockets of exhilarating grooves, weird throbbing beats, analog synthesizers, sweeping strings, and echoing, twinkling pianos. What's truly remarkable is that Allison is able to touch upon so many influences and skirt so many genres, but there's not a single element that feels out of place. It's not just expert sequencing that holds the album together; it's Allison's fearless experimentation, genius sense of melody, urgent lyrics, and commanding vocals that make for such a winning opus. The retro touches of "Make It Happen," "Strung Out," and "I Think I Love You" honor influences from Wire to New Order to the Human League to Depeche Mode, but Allison makes the sound her own again and again. "Strung Out" sounds like Curve produced by Martin Hannett. When things turn cinematic on "Performance" and "Wishing Stone," Allison proves herself a master of atmosphere. Poetic, melodic, and pulsing with enormous amounts of energy, the album sees Allison virtually creating new genres in the process of exploring her own musical heroes. We Are Science sees Dot Allison going beyond even the highs of One Dove and crafting an accessible, evocative masterpiece that consistently surprises and thrills. [The U.K. edition adds three remixes.]


Born: 17 August 1969 in Edinburgh, Scotland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Scottish singer/songwriter Dot Allison first made a name for herself with One Dove, an early-'90s group that blended dance and dream-pop elements on their first and only album, 1993's Morning Dove White. After One Dove disbanded in the mid-'90s, Allison disappeared from pop music until 1999, when a string of singles, concert appearances, and collaborations with artists like Arab Strap and Death in Vegas heralded her debut full-length, Afterglow. We Are Science followed in 2002, owing a dreamier sound...
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We Are Science, Dot Allison
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