Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Daughter - If You Leave

It seems to have been quite a long time since Elena Tonra first delicately touched our ears and hearts with the His Young Heart EP and the Wild Youth EP. It’s hard to think that it’s been 18 months since the latter was released. This is surprising for two reasons; the first being that the EPs sound as familiar to this writer as the first records he remembers hearing. Second is that they still sound as fresh as the opening track of Daughter’s debut record If You Leave, Winter.

With indie-titans 4AD releasing it and recorded in an array of spaces before being mastered at Abbey Roads, If You Leave is as well crafted as it is cared for and produced. The lead single Smother is painstakingly beautiful and demonstrates first hand the work that’s gone into this record for almost a year. The reworked version of Youth leaves negative amounts to be desired as its swell fills the listener with a series of emotions that are somehow both delicate and powerful whilst following it with newest single Still reminds you of how Tonra’s lyrics can cut straight to the core. 

At times you just have to take a moment to exhale during If You Leave. As personal as it is to the band, it’s in some ways relateable even if it didn’t have lyrics. As tomorrow kicks in half way through, Daughter unleash the rich tapestry they’re truly capable of; adding and taking away the muscle of their sound with total control and on Human, you see the breadth of music they’re capable of making as the beating backline of the track could be somewhere between Sigur Ros’ Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust and Bombay Bicycle Club.

The overall sound of the record creates an inescapable atmosphere; conflicted, ambivalent, painful in a good way. In some ways, pain is the one thing that keeps us human so to feel something that doesn’t so much perpetuate but alleviate pain whilst tapping into the deepest emotions you posses  that’s something to revel in. Whilst there’s an eleven minute Shallows at the end of the record that leaves a heck of a lot to be desired of a closing track of its length, If You Leave proves that Daughter have gone from creating music focused on pain, to creating music that encapsulates pain and acts as medicine. Some may call it depressing, I’d argue they’ve not listened hard enough.


Braden Fletcher 

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