IT'S A TRUE STORY. At least, it is according to Allo Darlin's Elizabeth Morris. Late one night during a date at a Paris fairground, there was the kissing of salty lips, popcorn stuck in teeth, and a Ferris wheel ride where Weezer songs were sung at the top of their lungs. It's a cute (when discussing Allo Darlin', it's impossible not to use that word often) expression of young love, but it's what happens next in Allo Darlin's "Kiss Your Lips" that makes the song truly special: "You swung your feet and sung my favourite Weezer song/So I sung along," and sure enough Allo Darlin' do just that. They pause their own song and break into a sloppy group chorus of "I'm a lot like you so please, hello, I'm here, I'm waiting/I think I'd be good for you and you'd be good for me," purposefully lifted from Weezer's last great song, "El Scorcho."
Hiphop has samples, but rock music is forever boxed in by the cover song; to repurpose a hook, lyrical line, or melody is akin to outright theft. For Allo Darlin', the much hyped British twee (another word that's seemingly unavoidable here) quartet, there is nothing wrong with borrowing from your influences through repurposed choruses and melodies. You can hear a hint of the Man in Black in "Heartbeat Chilli," or a few pilfered lines from Grease in the perfectly titled "Henry Rollins Don't Dance." In fact, the band breaking character mid-song is what makes the loosely structured "Kiss Your Lips" one of the best pop songs you'll hear this year.
Its lone competition might come from "Silver Dollars," another song on Allo Darlin's 10-song, self-titled debut. The song's unassuming, jangly pop reveals some telling lyrics about the warped finances behind life in a band ("And yeah I sold all my records but I'm still in debt by two grand/And yeah we played that show but we spent what we made on the cab"), and a last-call love affair that is more darling than dirty ("And though you say we're friends and that this love is purely platonic/I'm hoping that you'll forget after this round of gin and tonics").
The band first started making waves with the aforementioned "Henry Rollins Don't Dance," a song that Morris insists its namesake has yet to hear. "I really hope he hasn't heard the song, I would die of embarrassment," she explains. But it was the bouncy "The Polaroid Song"—which has to rank just slightly lower than "Kodrachrome" in the list of great songs about film products—that started turning heads toward Allo Darlin'. Its ambrosial tempo and bubbly chorus are capped by Morris wondering aloud, "I didn't know you could get that film anymore." When it was written, you couldn't—but that's no longer the case, since the Impossible Project began producing new film for discarded Polaroids everywhere. "They ruined my song," jokes Morris. "At the time, we were quite into taking Polaroids, then I found out that all the film was expiring... Now we get emails all the time from people being like, 'Hey, you guys, don't worry anymore, it's back!'"
Morris, guitarist Paul Rains, bassist Bill Botting, and drummer Mikey Collins have a penchant for writing darling little songs, channeling their backgrounds in various indie-pop acts the world over—Morris is an Aussie relocated to the band's current hometown of London—to make Allo Darlin' into a bit of a twee supergroup. "It's kind of funny," says Morris, "We're like a band of frontmen, apart from me."