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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MUTEMATH “Vitals” (Wojtek Records, 2015)

Infectious, soaring, hopeful and inspiring, MUTEMATH’s self-produced 4th studio album “Vitals” packs a mighty electro-punch, but also brings forward feelings of longing and softness.

It’s not every day a band is able to juggle so many emotional spheres within such simple and perfected writing, but MUTEMATH’s writing and musical capacity make them truly a diamond in the rough in today’s alt-pop scene.

Formed in 2003, hailing from New Orleans, MUTEMATH is now Paul Meaney (vocals, keys), Darren King (drums), Roy Mitchell-Cárdenas (bass) & Todd Gummerman (guitars)–although not one member is tied down to his instrument–they all play a little of everything, contributing to the band’s overall strength and writing prowess.

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“Vitals” is a superb synth-focused, electronica-pop masterpiece, filled with stand-out, radio-friendly & instrumental-only tracks: a true mélange of high calibre musical ideas with sophisticated execution. Their debut singles: “Monument” & “Used To” are both catchy and singable, guaranteed to sound amazing on full-volume.  Meaney’s vocals are confident on this album, soaring and cutting above the many layers supporting the individual tracks on “Joy Rides”, “Stratosphere” and “Best of Intentions”— and on “All I see”, “Composed” and “Remain” draping the lyrics in warmth and humanity.

Instrumental-only “Vitals” (title track) and the undeniably badass “Bulletproof” only further solidify this band’s talent: each electronic blip, delay, echo, drum beat, keyboard melody and manipulation is hand-crafted and constructed by them. Again, a rarity amongst today’s pre-made and fabricated electronic music…which only leaves me with the question: why isn’t this group of musicians known the world over?? Although they are known for their tenacity and creativity with music videos and wildly physical live performances, this band is huge within a smaller niche-market…what will it take for them to break out onto the next level of popularity? It would be a well-deserved achievement, to say the least.

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Long-time listeners looking for that signature MUTEMATH sound will be pleased with the array of new writing featured on “Vitals”, once again challenged with complex melodies & rhythms and comforted by simple and succulent lyricism.

All in all, if we at The Broken Chord can do anything to promote solid musicians (such as these guys) who work with everything they have emotionally and physically–we will sleep with full hearts at night.

 

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Buy “Vitals” on iTunes and mutemath.com

–Kalyn

Florence & The Machine “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful” (Island Records, 2015)

Powerhouse vocals wrapped in emotion, explosive and dangerous, yet pained and fragile–Florence Welch has set the bar high for female artists since her arrival on the scene in 2007, and continues to do so well into 2015 with the release of “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful”. She has the kind of stage presence that any female front-woman envies: powerful and in command, but graceful and mysterious– full of magic & electricity. florence and the machine

While this album doesn’t seem to feature the same reckless abandon and raw emotion that is shown on 2008’s well-crafted “Lungs”, and the strong follow-up release of “Ceremonials” in 2011, her famous whipping, soaring vocals come through in very sporadic and fleeting moments throughout this most recent album. The overall tone of the writing often feels like its foundations are too weak to hold her vocals and emotion properly, often resulting in lacklustre delivery. Although, this could be a reflection of a more refined, older & wiser Florence, a little more subdued and a little more comfortable.

Radio-friendly pop writing and catchy melodies heard on “Third Eye”, “Ship to Wreck” & “Hiding” unfortunately sound like filler standing next to the stronger, bolder tracks on the album, that feature that classic ‘Flo’ sound– “What Kind of Man”, “Various Storms & Saints” & “Mother”. Florence & The Machine has a huge presence in the festival scene, and will benefit greatly from these infectious tunes, offering so much for the crowds to grasp onto.

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All in all, this album will bring Florence & The Machine to a much more accessible level for many listeners, but perhaps the radio-friendly ‘cage’ isn’t the best place for a voice and talent of this wild nature; it should be free to roam every emotional & creative plane it desires…

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–Kalyn

Welcome !

Welcome to The Broken Chord.

A place to rediscover music. A place to rediscover the music within your soul.

Sometimes, life gets in the way; of our love of music, our passions and our goals.

This is a place to help counteract all of those things through the discovery of a new soundtrack to our lives. We all have our favourite songs, albums and artists who speak to us when we need them most. But how do we find those new songs, albums and artists to get us through new phases in life, when we’re constantly  bombarded with an over saturation of prosaic music from today’s commercial industry.

Our aim is to sift through the mire that is the music industry today. To share our humble opinions on artists, songs and albums, new & old. To share how we feel music.

This is our journey to rediscover the music within our souls.