published: 14 /
Solid debut of reflective indie-pop from Tapete Records latest signing Elva, the new band of ex-Allo Darlin’ frontwoman Elizabeth Morris and her husband Making Marks’ Ola Innset
I am not sure who is in charge of A & R at Hamburg’s Tapete Records, but I salute them, as over the last few years so many of my favourite artists have arrived at the label.
Many of them, such as Lloyd Cole, Davey Woodward, Bill Pritchard, the Catenary Wires and Pete Astor have roots back to the 1980s and that distinctive alternative sound that mapped out much of my teenage years, while some, like The Monochrome Set and Robert Forster, boast releases from as early as the late 1970s.
Elva are, however, in terms of the above, relative newcomers, with past musical exploits only stretching back to the end of the 00s! Elizabeth Morris found a degree of success and fame within indie circles as the singer, songwriter and ukulele/occasional guitar player in the utterly fab Allo Darlin’ until their demise in 2016, while Ola Innset was making minor marks as the frontman of Making Marks in the middle of the 2010s.
Somewhere along the line Morris and Innset met and married, starting a family which would ultimately have an influence on this album – particularly noticeable in the lyrics of tracks like ‘Harbour in the Storm’ and ‘Don’t Be Afraid’, both penned by Morris.
As a huge fan of the Go-Betweens from her native Queensland, the opportunity to be one of two songwriters in the band, would certainly have appealed to Morris. There is a definite difference in writing styles evident on this album, with Innset taking the rockier more uptempo path while Morris’s songs have a more reflective feel that mirror songs like ‘Tallulah’, ‘Some People Say’ and ‘Angela’ from her Allo Darlin’ days. The most pop of her tracks is the magnificent opener, ‘Athens’ which is at least the equal of anything from her back catalogue.
Prior to hearing the album, being such an avid fan of Allo Darlin’ and treasuring the memory of seeing them performing live on many occasions, I fully expected to be drawn more to Morris’s songs than those of her husband, but I was pleasantly surprised to find tracks such as ‘Tailwind’, with its 1970’s American easy listening vibe, ‘Ghost Writer’ and ‘Airport Town’ to be very much to my liking.
‘Winter Sun ‘does indeed marry the contrasts between Morris’ Australia and Innset’s Norway and ,while it is a decent debut, I feel there is more to come.
Dreaming with Our Feet
Harbour in the Storm
Don't Be Afraid
Everything is Strange
I Need Love