Daughter: If You Leave – album review
Daughter-If You Leave (4AD)
The relaxing London based trio, Daughter, have released their first album. LTW’s Rebecca Woods had a chance to listen and likes what she hears.
Oxymoronically, Daughter have a way of being both subtle and dramatic simultaneously, and they do it in such an exquisite way. Their debut album, ‘If You Leave’, has been long overdue but Monday 18th March saw its release and I must say: I am impressed.
It’s often that a band who have released a number of EPs prior to their debut will include most of their already released tracks in the final product, yet impressively Daughter have largely shied away from this. ‘Smother’ and ‘Youth’ – taken from a previous single, and EP – have reappeared however, but in a wise way. ‘Youth’ has been rerecorded and made even better than the original, giving both old fans and new an almost wholly new set of songs to get their teeth into.
‘Winter’ is a perfect album opener, supported by a snappy rat-a-tat of a drumbeat. As an introduction to Daughter, you couldn’t ask for better. Elena Tonra’s vocals are as pure and perfect as ever. The echoing guitar is reminiscent of The XX, but Daughter are much their own. They have a way of writing frightfully harrowing songs whilst making them enchanting. Encased within a fitting video, ‘Still’ is a track with firm roots in reality. Tonra’s lyrics are nostalgic and relatable, whilst the pounding drum brings the song to life. Definitely a note worthy track.
The album continues on through dainty numbers ‘Lifeforms’ and ‘Tomorrow’ that both build to a crescendo. One thing Daughter do superbly is take a song from the most delicate of places, and throw in the crashing of cymbals and drums, all the while keeping the song perfectly harmonious.
Elena sings, “Underneath this skin there’s a human,” over the top of keys and a rolling snare drum. The verses of ‘Human’ see the heaviest guitar work of the album, which carries a bit more of a country/folk sound to that which Daughter usually produce. The track is the latest to be released and has seen itself become Annie Mac’s ‘Hottest Record’ of the week on Radio 1.
The end of the album is just as superb as the rest. ‘Touch’ is a prime example of a heartfelt outpouring, and ‘Amsterdam’ tells a nostalgic story. Standing at just under 7 minutes long, ‘Shallows’ is teeming with the elegant guitar and drum combinations that Daughter do best.
Elena Tonra is the cornerstone in Daughter and I find it almost impossible to find a flaw with her. Her lyric writing and performance has proven itself time and time again and ‘If You Leave’ is another achievement to add to her ever growing list. Daughter are definitely far from a rock band, but for those moments when you just want to relax with a bit of easy music, then this is the perfect album for fans of any genre. If the eerie echoes don’t induce shivers, then turn the volume up a little higher and try the album again.
Words by Rebecca Woods.