Here's something interesting. Ms. Allison, here introducing her second album 'We Are Science', is an increasingly cool chicken. For starters, she's shorn her blonde locks and migrated to the high street Dance section. But has she hit the line marked 'too cool for her own good'? On this evidence, not yet. Since the warm wash of atmosphere (plus a few shatteringly shiny pop songs) that was Afterglow, she's moved much more in the direction of vibey clinical electronica, and Substance hence resembles Debbie Harry beating Air at Tetris. On a Gameboy. Likewise, in place of coy, dusky pavement shots we now have Digital Dot Allison on the cover looking iconic (in the computerised sense).
Felix Da Housecat's extended remix (see - ultra-cool) adds the keyboards verbatim from 'Tainted Love' and reveals that Dot subscribes to the breathy songstrel cult of singing slightly, alluringly flat. She's in good company.
As a taster for the album, this isn't unpromising, although she could do more with her voice - but then that's the current tendency: loops over lyrics. The B-side's pretty insubstantial, and doesn't live up to its title of 'Lo-fi Love Song', but it's all in keeping with the pure minimalism of the design: a single that's, well, single in its focus. Regardless, 'Substance' is a pleasing slice of scanned-in nighttime ephemera for your favourite inhabitant of shiny bars.
8Kate Dornan's Score