Daughter “Not to Disappear” (Glassnote Entertainment Group, 2016)

Perfectly painful, acutely sombre and emotionally intelligent– just a few ways to describe the second full-length album from London-based Daughter, “Not to Disappear”.

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Elena Tonra (vocals, guitars) pulls the listeners in with her melancholic melodies, sparking them aflame with an edge of bitterness and angst. Igor Haefeli (guitars) supports Tonra’s gripping sadness with well-crafted and poignant accents on guitar, and Remi Aguilella (drums) is a strong and steady base, on which the entire story of “Not to Disappear” plays out effortlessly.

Stand-out tracks include: “Numbers”, “Doing the Right Thing”, “Mothers”, “Alone/With You” & “No Care”.

The debut single “Doing the Right Thing” reveals the grim struggle of Tonra’s grandmother dealing with Alzheimers. The song sounds like a slow burn; a controlled, yet swirling and damaging storm. Poignant and stark, the harsh realities of the disease are played out for all to feel: “When it’s dark, I’ll call out in the night for my mother, but she isn’t coming back–cause she’s already gone” ” But you will not tell me that, cause you know it hurts me, and you know you are doing the right thing…”

“Mothers” begins with dripping child-like riffs and melody lines, and once again Tonra’s sad-soaked tones are perfectly paired with a vocal reverb that acts as an echo of the pain.  The mixing on this track is beautifully done–brilliant pans and tones that float all around the listener, enveloping their senses and drenching them in sound. “I’ll stay here, the provider or that constant sting they call love”, a beautiful lyrical capture of preserved pain, like an old wound that never fully healed.

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The second last track “Fossa” is a well-crafted song, which interjects fast paced choruses into half-time feels and the circling reverb patterns in the breathy vocal lines are hauntingly piercing. And although the song is lengthy and one of the meatier tracks on the album, the heavy instrumental end portion of the song is refreshing and slightly Sigur Rós like (which is always a welcome influence).

All in all, this three-piece from London has a lot of craft to offer the alt-indie pop scene. They infuse a very stark maturity and seriousness into their work, which stands out like a weathered, but sturdy dock in the wavy sea of similar sounding indie pop acts of today. This second album sounds older and wiser, like they’ve learned from their previous painful experiences. Sophisticated and yet very simple, the layers and complexities that are offered to the listener on this album preserve the essence of all that is Daughter. We suggest turning this album on during rainy days, sad seasons and anytime your heart feels heavy. Keep the kleenex close by.

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Buy “Not to Disappear” on iTunes and on ohdaughter.com

–Kalyn

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