19 May 2022

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Tim Allen - Single Review: Love is a Pill

20 Mar 2021 // A review by Callum Wagstaff

UK born New Zealand artist Tim Allen has been a mainstay in the NZ music scene for the last decade.

You might have seen one of his songs with Stormporter on New Zealand music TV or caught one of his shows on tour with Hangar 18. He's released a couple of studio albums before, including The Last Bastion of a Lad on which he worked with Ben King (Goldenhorse) and Milan Borich (Pluto) among other notables.
Perhaps most impressive in his list of Kiwiana credentials is having his music appear on the legendary Shortland Street.

He teamed up with session drummer Freddie Green for the Last Bastion of a Lad tour and after a successful romp together
they've decided to join forces again to bring you Love is a Pill.

Love is a pill winds right up with sexy sliding chords pressed up hard against the body of a swinging low tom oriented beat reminiscent of some of the riff-to-rhythm relationships found in a good Queens of the Stone Age song. The courtship halts for a moment and the components stare at each other like a couple of Quentin Tarantino characters as Allen pulls the focus to announce cockishly "I came here to get my thrills".

After another brief rally of pelvic attacks he interrupts again: "In a moment time stood still" which seems to set the scene that we're taste testing the soundtrack to lust at first sight in a loud and poorly lit room. After a few more thrusts of beat and bleat we're paused again as he moans over a classic descending jazz blues interval, then a sudden moment of silence. The handling of tension and release is an expert exercise in getting dancers to pay attention to the music enough to intermittently freeze like Simon said, "talk dirty to your partner".

After a moment of pregnant silence the drum beat comes in alone which dives yet another level deeper into the "hey, nah serious, I've got something important to say now - listen to me" territory. Allen chimes in over it, insisting again that he came here for thrills, seriously. The vocal melody adds a couple more degrees in the scale to illustrate said insistence.

After another tension stretching drum fill (and a tasty one at that) the song bursts into a new phase with yet tastier, more sustained chords and Doors-esque indulgence as Allen declares what we were all hoping was the premise: Love is a PillThe age-old question with these kinds of songs is "are we in love or on drugs? Is love a drug or is drugs a love?" Immediately Allen plunges us into a psychedelic lead break that playfully condescends us like a cool older brother. It says "I dunno man, it doesn't matter, your brain chemistry is different now."

The blaring tones imply a definite time dilation. We've just lost 6 hours in a sensory paint mixer and we poke our heads out from under the sheets just long enough to snap back into the sweet, sweet chorus again. Those chords curve up and back down like the ebb and flow of your awareness tonight. Then the mellowdown hits.
Not for long though.
Maybe in the live version it will be
longer, but this definitely would have been the place for a meandering half volume jam session. As it stands, we are rudely interrupted by a vibe shattering snare roll and another blood vessel bursting silence.

Then we get the chorus again - but it feels sweatier, with more tired feet. Thirsty, with a mean cotton mouth and impending acid reflux. A comforting descending vocal line assures us it's  not a worsening trip, it's just a comedown.

And there we are, standing in an empty bar with the lights on and waking up in an unfamiliar motel room. I thought it was love but it was definitely maybe just a pill.

Love is a Pill
is the first taste of what you can expect from a rejuvenated artist with the world in his sights.
Epic in every sense of the word, the track fuses huge sounds, raw feel and instantly memorable choruses.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Tim Allen

Tim Allen is a Singer/Songwriter from Preston Lancashire now residing in NZ. He has performed all over the word in different guises. It all started in the North west of England playing many shows in Legendary venues such as The Cavern Club, Manchester’s Night and day and Academy and a slot at Leeds festival with The Little Kings.

Tim has also released two singles with Kiwi band Stormporter and most recently has been on three international tours of south east Asia playing, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and the Philippines (supporting Franco at their sold out show) with NZ band Hangar 18 which saw the band sign a 15 country wide deal with MCA music (universal music Philippines). Hangar 18 also toured the whole of NZ and played to 4000 people on New Year's Eve 2018 as part of the Marlborough ignites festival in Picton.

As a solo artist Tim has released two EP’s, Nowhere to Go (2008 self-released) and Wandering (2009 The Animal Farm), and a full length album It's All About Time (2013 Sometime Records) which was produced by Alan Gregson (Cornershop). Tim is currently recording his second full Length album in NZ with his band and local legend Nick Abbott (Pluto, Goldenhorse, Crowded House, Bic Runga) whose recording, mixing or production credits are far too many to mention.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Tim Allen


The Last Bastion of A Lad
Year: 2020
Type: Album

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