To say that this debut album from London based Daughter has been eagerly anticipated would be an understatement. Prior to this debut full length, the band had only two EP’s under their belts, 2011 efforts His Young Heart and The Wild Youth, the latter in particular gained them both critical and national recognition with lead track ‘Youth’ gaining 10 million views online and sound-tracking several major TV shows.
The band then made the conscious decision to not rush their LP on the back of EP success and release the album on their own terms. The band secured a deal with 4AD, home to The National, Grimes, and Bon Iver to name but a few, and with this, the anticipation only grew stronger. Now, two years later, the band have finally released their first full length If You Leave—but was it worth the wait?
The trio have used the time well, they’ve taken everything that made the early releases so special and perfected it, perfected the sound and the emotion that encapsulates the band. The dulcet tones, the moving lyrics and the angelic voice of Elena Tonra all come together to create a token sound that is both utterly unique, whilst having an air of familiarity.
The album opens with ‘Winter’, a perfect opener and a great representation of the band. Starting off sounding like Florence & The Machine after a few Horlicks before building up to a roaring climax. The band have perfected the art of making music that tug’s on the heart-strings, but without resorting to cliché, all the while maintaining their unique sound. This is further apparent on the albums lead single ‘Smother’, on which the guitar is played delicately and the drums used sparingly giving prominence to Elena’s sweet vocals singing the aching lyrics.
The one criticism I have of the album is that the standout track is a re-recorded and much improved ‘Youth’. The track has been given a new lease of life and is even more heartbreaking for it; although, they have taken the raw emotion of the EP version and made it feel a bit tame.
The band still reach more highs on the album with other standout tracks such as ‘Amsterdam’ which recalls The XX at their most mellow, or ‘Human’ in which the band up the tempo and show a pop sensibility that many may not think they possess, it’s a refreshing twist on their astute sound.
To answer the earlier question, is this release worth the wait? Of course, it is. The album borders on perfection and will be a tough one for the band to top with their next full length but if anyone is capable of doing so, it’s Daughter.