Friday 15 March 2013

Daughter | If You Leave (Album Review)

01 Winter     
02 Smother     
03 Youth     
04 Still     
05 Lifeforms     
06 Tomorrow     
07 Human     
08 Touch    
09 Amsterdam     
10 Shallows

Upon first hearing 'Tomorrow' at the beginning of 2011, I knew almost instantaneously I had discovered something truly amazing. When a song has the same effect on you almost 2 years after it first stopping you in your tracks, you know it's more than just a piece of music. And it's this profound emotion and heartfelt pain bundled in to each and every track that I have fallen in love with as more and more of Daughter's music has to treacled in to my life. So as one became three as the solo project expanded (Igor Haefeli [guitar] and Remi Aguilella [percussion]) it was only rightfully so that If You Leave avidly became one of my most anticipated records of the year. Delicate, intricate and entangled with desolation, this album has blossomed in to everything you would have expected from Daughter. A truly timeless classic.

With additional production coming from Rodhaidh McDonald (The xx, Adele) and Jolyon Vaughan Thomas, and mixed by Ken Thomas (Sigur Ros, M83) the album has remained as poignant and perturbing as ever. After falling in love with Daughter's simplicity and minimalistic approach a big fear for me was the album gaining a polished and over produced feel but both McDonald, Thomas and Igor have done an excellent job at retaining its true beauty. A second ever present fear for me was the possibility of recycling old songs. Often the case when an artist releases an album at such a length of time from entering the spotlight the usually formulated result is a regurgitation of singles and EP tracks and whilst that is partly the case here the balance of new songs gracing the tracklist makes for an exciting and fresh listen perfectly proportional.

And it's that blend of old and new that leads us in with previously unheard track Winter. As the lyrics begin to unfold detailing a stark realisation of a failing relationship we're given no time to brace ourselves as we are hurtled full force in to the inner musings of Elena's psyche. A blissful swaying nature enthralls as the percussion begins to take a hold and carry you forward in to Smother's bleak and sparse musical landscape. You quickly begin to realise this is far from an album for the faint hearted.

Being already prepared for the percussive drops and reverberated build ups of ambiance having been treated to Youth from the bands 'The Wild Youth EP' released back in 2011 it was nice to hear it fit in with the album's context as it slips ever so elegantly in to Still. A lugubrious and afflicting glimpse in to a toxic and irrevocably breakdown.

Lifeforms, another new track is of equal calibre. Piercingly cold and trembling with sincerity & realism Elena's crystallised vocals bring home the message as gripping guitars chug away beneath before being swallowed by the tracks inundating grasp. This album proves to be ever so intense. As is the case with Tomorrow. A chilling plea wishing time to stand still before the inevitable pain and mortality creeps in. Soaked in reverb the track prospers in to a powerful concoction of fluttering guitars and devastating percussion before creeping away in to Human's more upbeat folk rhythms.

As the album moves in to its final stretch, the vulnerabilities begin to seep back in as Touch's despairing fragility and barren openness surround you in all its disheartenment before being struck down by Amsterdam's deference as the track builds and expands to form a pulsation of depth and devotion.
Rounding up the album is another track I had previously heard (albeit a demo) so it's great to hear it in its fully fledged form. With more urgency through additional guitars and a much tighter production Shallows becomes a beautiful ode to say goodbye. Devouring in every sense of the word.

As far as debut albums go If You Leave is an hypnotic amalgam of inner torment that sears your heart with widespread yearning. Elena Tonra has found an excellent muse in releasing her deepest and most intimate demons and this album shows true testament to that.

If You Leave is available to Pre-Order now to be released Monday, 18th March.
Be sure to check out the live dates below. 

21st - Library, Birmingham
22nd - Anglican Cathedral, Liverpool
23rd - Town Hall, Oxford
24th - Old Fire Station, Bournemouth

16th - De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill On Sea
17th - Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton
19th - Tyne Theatre, Newcastle
20th - Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow
21st - Ritz, Manchester
22nd - Town Hall, Leeds
24th - Komedia, Bath
25th - Great Hall, Cardiff
26th - Junction 1, Cambridge
27th - UEA, Norwich
29th - Shepherds Bush Empire, London


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