Daughter: If You Leave Album Review
Daughter are a London-based trio consisting of Elena Tonra (vocals/guitar), Igor Haefeli (guitar) and Remi Aguilella (percussion). Having started life in 2010 as an outlet for Elena’s musings, the group gradually grew to a three-piece and, following a couple of EPs, they now present their debut full-length offering, If You Leave.
Recorded over a period of months at home and in various spaces around London, the record offers a snapshot of a year in Daughter’s short life and its strength lies within Elena’s lyrics and her emotive delivery. Make no mistake, this is not a particularly cheerful album. It’s bruised and embittered, mournful and heavy. Sample lyric: “And if you’re still bleeding, you’re the lucky one/Because most of our feelings, they are dead and they are gone/Setting fire to our insides for fun, collecting pictures from a flood that wrecked our home… and you caused it.” Brilliantly acerbic.
Atmospheric guitar sounds and minimalist-but-effective drums give the record a big beating heart, which combined with a ghostly, almost otherworldly layering to the vocals and the biting lyrics, take it away from being merely another fragile folk offering. Elena’s voice is interesting, landing somewhere between Florence Welch at her very least bombastic, Channy Leaneagh and Laura Marling. It rarely ventures from its hushed tones though, and nor does the album as a whole. There aren’t many shards of light here. Rodaidh McDonald, who has recorded and mixed The xx, had a hand in the production, which gives you an idea of the kind of soft haunting vibe Daughter have reached here.
This is an album of delicate beauty. However, like those bad relationships from which it takes much of its inspiration, its constant bleakness of content and lack of levity is a little smothering.
Review by Bobby Townsend