Dot Allison Reveals An Edgier Sound

Excerpted from the magazine for

"I've always been interested in science, and I still read New Scientist," says Dot Allison, the Scottish singer who left her studies in biochemistry to "follow the music." It proved to be a wise decision, as the debut by One Dove, the brooding electronica outfit to which she lent her ethereal voice, proved to be a seminal effort upon its release nearly a decade ago.

Of "We Are Science," her new collection and the first for Mantra Records, she says, "I like the fact that the title throws out certain questions. It could be about love, loss, the chemistry between two people, or where humans meet technology. I'm interested in the discovery -- what makes you tick, what makes the world tick."

Like Allison's previous work, it is her evocative vocals often delivered in breathy fashion that make "We Are Science" -- which follows her critically acclaimed 1999 Heavenly recording, "Afterglow" -- immediately captivating. Musically, it touches on prior efforts but is more diverse, with the widescreen, spacey "Performance" fitting comfortably with the stripped-down, acoustic "Wishing Stone" and the hyperactive twitch of "I Think I Love You." Allison also reveals more of an edge.

"When I was making it, I was in transition," Allison says, referring to her leaving the Heavenly label and signing on with Mantra, a Beggars Group imprint. "There were certain unknown quantities. I felt like making a more rebellious record; a tougher, darker record."

The single "Strung Out" is a prime example of Allison's intention coming to fruition. One of two tracks that she co-produced with the respected Dave Fridmann, "Strung Out" was recorded with Mercury Rev guitarist Grasshopper and drummer Jeff Ament. The video for "Strung Out" -- directed by Jake & Jim, who have shot clips for Geri Halliwell and Super Furry Animals -- has been getting airtime on MTV2.

There are also elements of "We Are Science," such as the synthesizers on the near-title track "We're Only Science," that might take some listeners back to the 1980s. "Having a distance from that time and that era, you can appreciate some of the songs that were actually quite cool," she says. "You go back and plunder these ideas from the past, but you create something new, hopefully."

In addition to special mixes of tracks for Allison's club-going fan base and the availability of the single as an MP3 through her Web site,

In terms of touring, Allison has been playing acoustic club dates throughout the U.S. since the album's Sept. 24 release, and has also opened dates on Saint Etienne's stateside concert trek. The artist is eyeing the prospect of returning to the U.S. in 2003 for a series of additional headline club dates with full band accompaniment.

Excerpted from the Dec. 14, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the members section.

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