Londoners Daughter formed initially as the solo project of singer Elena Tonra before guitarist Igor Haefeli and drummer Remi Aguilella jumped onboard, and in the few short years since their 2010 conception the band have been impressively prolific, to say the least. Five EPs, one set of signatures on a contract with 4AD, and a short foray into the American market via an appearance on the Letterman show later, and the band is ready to release their debut long-player, If You Leave.
At times ethereal and haunting, If You Leave will carry the candle of the wistful and heartbroken everywhere. The band’s tunes are undoubtedly well-crafted and intimate and Tonra’s breathy and fragile vocals are at times measured and beautiful, but the sometimes contrived and suffocating atmosphere conjured by much of this album may make you want to shout “lighten up you miserable sods!” in the general direction of your speakers. It’s one of those albums that you can appreciate is a well put together piece of work, but leaves you thankful when it’s over. In short, it’s pretty hard work.
In saying that, Daughter do exactly what they set out to do, and do it well. Singles ‘Smother’ and ‘Still’ are highlights, and on ‘Youth’ Tonra’s vocals are more to the fore, instead of being lost amongst a haze of guitar tinkling and shadowy background noise.
The constant sorrow and wistfulness becomes draining by sixth track ‘Tomorrow’, but the final track ‘Shadows’ is all shimmery guitar lines and pounding drums, and is well worth hearing if you can make it that far. (4AD)