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Dot and Loops

When the needle hits the meord, this is what you'll be able to hear: bleached- white guitar effects washing against the most strung-out of country songs, warped pedal-steel bleeding into backwards loops and distant drones, and a voice so warm and intense that it feels like a thousand summer days burning Into your skull. The song's called 'Tomorrow Never Comes', and It's by Dot Allison. If you like the sound of it, you should probably start looking now, because them's only 500 copies of it in the world.
Before you do, though, let us reintroduce you to Dot. From Glasgow, but now firmly ensconced in London, she was once the singer in One Dove, a band whose mercurial, post- 'Screamadelica', smack-rock symphonic disco promised much, but never really delivered. When they split in 1996 after protracted legal and personal wrangling, it left Allison free to pursue what she'd always wanted in the first place: the chance to make her own record, her own way. A task not helped by a road accident that left her in a wheelchair for the first half of '96.
"Things look bad," she smiles now, "but they don't look as bad as they do from a wheelchair. Without going into the gruesome details, it was all pretty bad, I don't want to say I could have died, but I could have, and there was certainly a lot of healing to do, both physically and emotionally."
Having finally recovered, she moved down to London where she began a series of fragmented recording sessions. The result is 'Afterglow'. Not released until May, it's an intensely personal, sonically freewheeling album that contains shards of a thousand different bands (Mazzy Star, Cocteau Twins, Gram Parsons, Spiritualized, Nico, Dusty Springfield, the list goes on), as well as featuring 9ontributions from Burt Bacharach's songwriting partner Hal David and My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields. It's also notable for sounding like it was recorded under the influence of massive morphine injections. When we suggest this to Dot, she just smiles.
"That's really good. I'm glad you think it sounds like that. I want it to be moody, for the music to insidiously draw you in just like music like that, music like The Velvet Underground or whatever. Besides, it's not all like that."
Very true. Later this month, her second single, 'Mo' Pop', will be released and that doesn't sound anything like what we've described so far. 'Mo' Pop' is the song that Saint Etienne always wished they could write, an effortless ray of clipped Atlantic soul and rushing brass, the second great pop single of the year after Gay Dad's 'To Earth With Love' - and one that certainly points to a happier future both for Dot - and everyone else. After the dismal washout of 1998, here's yet another thing to believe in at the start of 1999. Not bad going, considering it's only February. James Oldham

Originally appeared in NME 6 February 1999. Copyright Copyright, IPC Magazine Ltd. 1999 All Rights Reserved.