Daughter - 'If You Leave'
The London trio’s debut is wistful and sad. But over a whole album the endless sorrowing gets a bit much
The purity of the unashamed navel-gazing is undoubtedly beautiful, as is the sultry sorrow of ‘Winter’, with the soft licks like dying embers and Tonra whispering, “I needed you to run through my veins like disease”. The only problem is, over a whole album, the endless sorrowing gets a bit much. The tone is pretty uniform, bar the more animated ‘Human’, which wakes you from wistfulness with a skippily folky rhythm guitar and a tremblingly heart-in-mouth drum-rolled chorus. And though the chirrup and mope of ‘Youth’ tugs at your heart, when Tonra asserts “We are the reckless, we are the wild youth” you can’t help but raise an eyebrow. Not even Tim Burton’s life is this spooky all the time, and both musically and lyrically, Daughter ain’t half as clever as they clearly think they are (people get serious and clever mixed up a lot, weirdly).
Their sonic world is close to that of Esben And The Witch, but their moments of grandiose despair are more tasteful, their flashes of fury less intense, the temptation to shout “oh, man up and have a biscuit” always closer to hand. Also, for all their subtle little details, as NME’s Reviews Editor Tom Howard once memorably put it, there’s an element of Lucy Rose Sings Post-Rock here that could be beefed up into something really affecting. They’re not a very leftfield band, so why not go embrace the mainstream and write some songs that can swim?
Thankfully the spareness of ‘If You Leave’ leaves a lot of room to grow. There’s beauty here in heaps, and by leaning a bit less hard on the heartbreak pedal, turning down the reverb and letting that wild youth out a bit more, they can become a Daughter we’re truly proud to call our own.
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