I was recently linked to a performance of London rockers, Daughter playing one of their songs Shallow, live, at the Air Studios. Interestingly, instead of it just being the members of the band playing, there was also a ten-piece orchestra backing them up. Let me tell you now, the performance is incredible and sounds like something Mono might play, but with vocals and something new! I also found out that they were going to release an EP with the rest of the performance on on April 15th. Obviously very excited by this, I decided to check out Daughter’s newest release; If You Leave.
Despite being together for about four years now, this is the bands first full length release and it has to be said, If You Leave is a real corker. It succeeds in what it does and pulls no punches, instrumentally, lyrically, and emotionally. I’m not going to tell you that this album will have you in tears, but it does latch onto that part of you that allows you to empathise with the singer and what she’s singing about. There seem to be a lot of songs about loneliness, intimacy and as such, it plays your heart strings like a well strung guitar.
Each song, makes use of a very set atmosphere and luckily enough for the band, it works for them. It becomes part of their signature sound, I just hope that they don’t rely on this for their next release, which is why the new EP, is so interesting; it adds new levels to the songs and gives the sound a much needed charge of life.
There’s this constant haze over the entire sound, not like shameless reverbing, but a general wideness to the sound. Very well done, considering there are only there members in the band. The guitars are clear as diamond and shine just as much as they twinkle through verses and chorus’ alike. It’s definitely worth mentioning Mono again as at times on the album, the tones of everything sound so familiar, you could almost forget you’re listening to Daughter. These sort of moments occur a lot, when you’re listening to Still or Shallows, you get lost in the haze and tremelo picking.
I really like Human, it’s a much more upbeat track that proves that Daughter can play much more than just on your heart-strings. The drumming in this track also really sticks out, especially in the chorus when you’ve got this fast and constant beat, yum! The sudden stops after this album are one of those rare delights in a song that have you grinning like some music loving fool.
It would be fantastic to see this band pull something else out of their set-up, not just these cold intimate pieces of melancholy. Amsterdam is an example, it pulls out that neat acoustic guitar at the start and I think for a second that we might get something different, but it eventually gets consumed by the song. However, this track does have a lot of empty space, that gets populated with some really intimate instrumentation; when lead the singer pulls out that ‘I’m a flying kite in the breeze’, with nothing else, it’s a really game changing moment.
The album needs more little moments Amsterdam and Human to break it up a bit, but, the rest of the album does play to Daughter and their strengths. They play with intimacy, hearts worn on sleeves (trouser legs, hats and knickers) and with pure emotion, which is what makes this album stand out among the universe of music about bitches, bling and partying.
If You Leave is a cold winter breeze of melancholy at the beginning of summer, but I’m more than happy to grab a jacket and scarf to listen to this incredibly well made album.
Can’t wait for the new EP either…