Allegory: Portsmouth’s ‘Marmite’ Band

Emily Priest interviews local band Allegory following the release of their latest single. They talk to S&C about their influences, the future and how their style of music is not always the most popular. 

Allegory, although formed in 2014, have found themselves at a new beginning after redefining their genre at the start of this year. The once three-piece rock band has now become an experimental, art-pop duo, consisting of singer-songwriter Ellie Day, and Daniel Ansell on keys, guitar, mixing and mastering.

Following the release of their newest single, Syncopation, I met with Ellie to talk about the band.

Allegory’s musical inspirations include Radiohead, Alt J, The XX and Bowie, though on listening I can also hear Mogwai, Bjork and Kate Bush. Available on both itunes and SpotifySyncopation is a song about strength and independence in love. Each element of the song reflects its theme: beginning slow and soft and building together in an impressive, cathartic crescendo. As its name suggests, the song’s lyrics fall rhythmically on the weak beat, creating a unique, surreal sound.

‘I like to take a bit of fact and a fiction. There’s always truth to it but my older songs are a lot more personal. It is like a diary. I always want that realness with emotion to it and to connect,’ Ellie explained as we discussed her creative process.

‘I am quite happy to be vulnerable. I don’t have that full band anymore to hide behind.’

After listening to older songs like Kimono Club, there’s a clear distinction from the band’s previous style. I prefer the vibe in Syncopation, which is more expressive, and the lyrics more powerful: ‘I will cut you out like cancer from my bones.’

There’s no doubt this band has progressed over time, but perhaps there is still some way to go. Allegory has found resistance, even in Portsmouth’s thriving scene.

‘We’re a Marmite band, people either love us or hate us,’ Ellie says, ‘we’re not trying to please anyone. We are just doing what we enjoy and we want to be controversial too. If people start talking about our music then we know we are doing it right.’

I like Allegory, with a few caveats. The vocals vary drastically with volume and pitch in a Lana Del Rey-esque style, and although I find this effective, the softer parts of Allegory’s music are far more powerful.

The start and chorus of Sonder are gentle, bringing more focus to the lyrics which for me are one of the band’s strong points.

But Allegory ‘don’t mind being the outcasts’, Ellie tells me.

‘We only want people to listen as we’ve worked so hard for it.’

Allegory hope to do more shows in Portsmouth to make that ‘connection’ with local audiences they are fighting for. Their music is raw but there are obvious gems set to sparkle amongst our city’s more established talent. Now that they have found a style they like, this may well be a band to watch.

At the end of this year, Allegory hope to have created their first EP with 6 mastered and remixed tracks including Syncopation.

‘I want to create individual abstract artwork for each song and present it in a booklet with the lyrics. I want to give people the real Allegory,’ Ellie says.

A Marmite band that you may love or hate, make sure you give Allegory a long listen before making up your mind.

Listen to more Allegory on Bandcamp and follow their Facebook here.

Image credit: Ellie Day.