Dot Allison - Room 7 1/2
Four albums into a solo career spanning a decade, former One Dove singer Dot Allison has moved a long way from the electronic beats that characterised her first album. Room 7 ½ is predominantly a folky, whispered affair, which is both its strength and downfall. While the album starts off beautifully with 'Cry', and there’s no denying the beauty in her voice, the softly spoken ballads soon melt into one.
Much has been made of Allison’s collaborations. It’s a shame, then, that two of the album’s big attractions, the duets with Peter Doherty and Paul Weller are both letdowns. Her recent frequent collaborations with Doherty suggests that the two should be very much in tune with each other, and it’s somewhat surprising to find their duet here is borderline unlistenable - discordant and messy, consisting of Pete mumbling in one speaker while Dot whines in the other to an apparently entirely unrelated backing track which speeds up and slows down in a haphazard fashion. The Weller duet is better, but it’s an unmemorable ballad and feels like a wasted opportunity.
The album closer 'Portrait Of The Sun' ends things incongruously in a cacophonous squall of feedback and spiky guitars and is symptomatic of the problems with the album – it feels disjointed, and is unlikely to win her any new fans.