Bittersweet, fragile, sad, angry, reflective – collectively these are all emotions which neatly lay the groundwork for Daughter’s sophomore album ‘Not To Disappear’.  Though the band’s sound has developed since 2013’s highly successful debut ‘If You Leave’, it has not progressed so much that you would now struggle to recognise it.  I guess the overriding initial message here is “if it isn’t broke then don’t fix it”. 

The key to enjoying this album is in dedicating enough time.  Unlike the debut’s immediacy and ability to pull you in during the first couple of auditions, I’ve found that it’s taken me several sessions to fully immerse myself into this record.  It’s somehow more expansive, more widescreen perhaps.

Some elements are unchanged – Elena Tonra’s voice, for instance, once again sits softly spoken atop the instrumentation.  There’s certainly a fragility to this hushed voice but also a pent-up anger struggling for release.  “I hate living with you, I should get a dog or something”, Tonra sings during ‘Alone / With You’.  At the same time, Daughter now very definitely feels like a collaborative whole rather than simply a vehicle for Tonra’s song writing, as possibly indicated by some of the band’s early EPs.

‘Numbers’ was one of the first tracks to appear a couple of months back.  It somehow feels like the glue between the first and second albums.  There are elements of both familiarity and also experimentation within this track.  The same backwards guitar and reverberation are in place, just as they were on 2013’s ‘Human’, but everything drops back for the chorus, leaving just a barely-there synth and Tonra quietly announcing “I feel numb, I feel numb in this kingdom”.

‘Mothers’ neatly demonstrates how a lot can be derived from just a little.  An understated melody winds itself around sparse instrumentation and in doing so delivers one of the album’s standout tracks.  ‘No Care’ changes the whole context of the album – there’s a sudden urgency injected within this track, helping it to sound something like Radiohead on sleeping pills.

I don’t think there are any real surprises herein.  Existing Daughter fans will find much to like but whether newbies will be swayed by ‘Not To Disappear’s charms remains to be seen.  They really should – because there are plenty of reasons to cherish this album.

Out Friday 15th January

Paul Lockett




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