Room 7 ½
Dot Allison’s Room 7 ½ is an impressive album that, at times, likens to viewing a snow-capped mountain from a distance; there’s an icy, cold feel, yet it is simultaneously strikingly beautiful and pristine. The lyrical composition and poetic strength make this emotionally revealing album raw and powerful.
Dot Allison has previously collaborated with bands such as Massive Attack and Zero 7, and fronted electronic dance band One Dove in the early 90’s. In Room 7 ½ , she breaks out in a softer and more subtle way with added light synth and electronic touches on songs like “While She Sleeps.”
The best tracks are the openers, including “Cry,” which instantly reminds me of a Mazzy Star album as it showcases delicate vocals and a sentimental tone. The second track, “Paved with a Little Pain,” adds a nice and upbeat folksy sound introducing a welcomed contrast to the predominantly softer ballads on the album.
Pete Doherty makes a guest appearance on “I Wanna Break Your Heart,” another standout track from the album, consisting of back and forth vocals with lyrics like “I wanna be your boyfriend/ I wanna break your heart/I wanna your hold hand/I wanna break your heart,” between Allison and Doherty.
The title track features Allison on vocals and the autoharp. It is the quiet subtitles such as the light use of instruments and Allison’s whispery vocals that characterize much of the work.
While listening to the whole album at once can feel heavy at times, the delicate power that reaches listeners is effective and touching. Overall, this is an album with highlighted moments, beautiful lyrics, and light instrumentation. At times, it is unafraid to explore darker places that produce an overall emotionally genuine experience.