Release Date: Jan 15, 2016
Record label: Glassnote Entertainment Group
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
If Daughter's debut had you label the London trio as de rigueur indie alt-folk, think again: Not to Disappear sets their tender, haunted shadowplay alight. A thrilling expansion of the template, this document of (once again) lovers that went wrong is not for the fearful, but these songs are a league ahead of their predecessors: the desperate longing of opener New Ways ('I need new ways to waste my time… but there is something in you I can’t be without'); Doing the Right Thing (where the POV switches, disconcertingly, to Elena Tonra's Alzheimer's-stricken grandmother); the seething thrum of No Care ('Oh, there has only been one night where we fucked and I felt like a bad memory / Like my spine was a reminder of her'). And with a newly expanded sound, Daughter are suddenly huge.
As days gets shorter and the gloom rolls in, there are two choices - do everything to ignore the changing of the seasons, or embrace the freeze. Daughter’s second album, the apocalyptically dark ‘Not to Disappear’, presents a persuasive case for the latter. It doesn’t so much shun lightness as destroy it, and the only glimmer of hope it provides is this idea that with enough force, it’s possible to resist darkness.
Daughter make a triumphant return with sophomore effort Not To Disappear, an album that showcases their expanding musical expertise. Not To Disappear feels immediately like a full band record. For all its beauty, 2013's If You Leave could, at times, feel merely like a vehicle for Elena Tonra's vocals (not that this is in any way a negative thing), but there can be no such suggestion this time around.
When I saw The National play the Greek in Los Angeles, I completely missed Daughter opening up for them. I’d really enjoyed their debut album, so it bummed me out, but I got over it pretty quickly. If there’s any band operating with the same deftness in terms of melancholy moods and textures as The National, it’s Daughter. All that to say, their new album, Not to Disappear, is the sort of album where I’d be kicking myself for days if I missed their opening spot.
Although almost three years separate Daughter’s If You Leave and its follow-up, Not to Disappear, the London-based trio haven’t shaken off the deep melancholy that characterized their debut. If You Leave was a catalogue of bitter heartache. Through smoky plumes of reverb, singer Elena Tonra obscured her embitterment with pensive lyrical twists and turns, and with whips of trebly guitar and swathes of corroding drums, Igor Haefeli and Remi Aguilella shaded wintry soundscapes.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. There was a peculiar inconsistency to the first Daughter record. On the face of it, it seemed a relatively straightforward affair; Elena Tonra seldom minced her words nor strove too hard to shroud themes of heartbreak and loneliness in overly esoteric metaphor. You couldn't really have accused the trio, either, of failing to wear the influences on their sleeves, with a pretty simple equation the album's bedrock - sweeping drama by way of shimmering guitars.
First, a flood warning. If you have ever had a loved one ailing from dementia, Daughter’s song Doing the Right Thing is either the last thing you need – or the very thing. One of the standout tracks on this London post-indie rock trio’s second album deals unflinchingly with that tragic decline of selfhood – so often played out, as singer Elena Tonra notes, in front of unwatched daytime TV.
January may not be the cruelest month (TS Eliot decided that April deserved that honour) but it’s still pretty bleak: full of post-Christmas blues, cold, wind, sometimes snow, and in 2016, the sad loss of some of our most creative geniuses. It seems somewhat appropriate, then, that January should be the month that London trio Daughter reappear with their second album, which almost seems custom-designed to soundtrack these bleak days of winter. Despite the sense of sadness that permeates through almost every track, Not To Disappear sounds like a huge step forward from If You Leave.
On their 2013 debut ‘If You Leave’, London trio Daughter ushered us into their fragile but beautiful world – one where life’s woes were expressed through guitar lines like Arctic blasts and Elena Tonra’s despondent poetry. Follow-up ‘Not To Disappear’ marks some low-key changes to their M.O (a smattering of synths here, a confessional attitude there), but even heading to New York last summer to work with Animal Collective producer Nicolas Vernhes hasn’t shaken their sadness.A wintry kind of misery is what Daughter do best, though, and that icy sound whips throughout the record, Igor Haefeli’s guitar melodies as smooth and cold as glaciers. Tonra’s lyrics, too, are resolutely downcast, but feel rawer and more honest.
Review Summary: Nothing stable.Few bands plumb the darker end of the emotional spectrum as adeptly as Daughter; for all the beauty in Elena Tonra’s voice, hers is an icy one, liable to crystallize into points sharp enough to draw blood rather than lull you into something resembling resolution. There was something to be said, though, for how naked that voice was. 2013’s If You Leave was a wrenching study of heartbreak, despair, and generally all the things that pop music wraps up to sell you in a pretty major-key bow.
Daughter's front lady Elena Tonra isn't much concerned over the words used to characterize or categorize the music she writes, just those she uses to write with. Tonra has turned to song as self-therapy, a vocalized journal, and a buoy to keep her above the surface of life's choppy seas..
Rarely have heartbreak and gloom sounded sexier than when in the hands of London-based singer-guitarist Elena Tonra. She and bandmates Igor Haefeli and Remi Aguilella are experts at crafting a cold sonic landscape that’s equal parts lush and sterile, inviting and terrifying. Maybe the scariest part is that stepping over the threshold and entering their dark world is so easy; Tonra’s gentle voice is one that would be equally well suited to lullabies.
The sophomore full-length from London's Daughter brings a more assertive articulation to their typically brooding ruminations while very much retaining the personality of their intimate debut LP. Though If You Leave was far from demure, sharp, more percussive attacks and pronounced, if still echoey and meandering, guitars greet ears from Not to Disappear's opening "New Ways. " The song also has stream-of-consciousness, near-rap passages by leader Elena Tonra ("I'm trying to get out/Find a subtle way out/Not to cross myself out/Not to disappear"); the singer has revealed that the band's recording process here was more spontaneous than ever before, with Tonra improvising lyrics during recorded "jams" in the studio, much of which was used on the album.
The English indie folk trio Daughter nestled into the void on 2013’s If You Leave, but on Not to Disappear, their second and better record, they fashion their own lifeline back out again. The debut was spacious and crystalline yet suffocating, somehow; the music, epic in its melancholy, made claims of a vast emotional experience that exceeded the scope of the lyrics. It didn’t help that Elena Tonra, a hushed singer in thrall to Jeff Buckley and Ian Curtis, was writing in an idiom of frozen hearts, heavy winters, and home-wrecking floods, metaphors as dead as her idols.
It's not an enviable task for Daughter, following up 2013’s If You Leave. A pretty much perfect mesh of fevered melody and wrenching despair, Elena Tonra’s heartbroken narratives hit home because they seemed sincere, the slightly sixth-form lyrical melodrama offset by the sheer red-raw bloodedness of their delivery. And watching her onstage in those early gigs there was little doubting that she’d lived those songs, fragile and trembling and constantly overwhelmed by the response that they wrought in the crowds, ever-swelling, that gathered to hear them.
Daughter’s first album, If You Leave, was a supremely melancholy, reverb-heavy album that was almost always quiet but nonetheless utilized dynamic contrasts, growing intense through more subdivided drumbeats and dropping back down with a cymbal crash for a final refrain from vocalist/lyricist Elena Tonra. It did not offer anything that The Cure and Jeff Buckley –even in its own sonic space, less dour than The Cure without the bombast of and vitality of Buckley – but it was nevertheless encompassing in its mood, an album for walks as wintry or dark as the songs. The band comes off that heaviness a little for Not To Disappear.
"I hate walking alone/Maybe I should get a dog or something," Elena Tonra sings midway through this English indie-folk act's second LP, over guitars that gnash and thunder like a vacuum cleaner on the fritz. Not to Disappear is rife with similarly unadorned statements of discontent; it's as though we're being read a diary, composed with no need to jazz things up for an audience. The band's stylized, minimal instrumentation can highlight the monotony of Tonra's gorgeous, but largely static, vocal phrasing, as on "Mothers," where she reflects glumly on dime-a-dozen signifiers like the feeling "when your face becomes a stranger's" and unspecified "chemical reactions.
Three years after the release of If You Leave, Daughter’s latest offering of still, cavernous hauntings sounds trapped in an era of alt-rock that has since collapsed under the weight of its own misery. Not to Disappear is an album that self-loathes as much as it rigorously self-indulges – “No one asks me for dances because I only know how to flail”, “me and I are not friends”, “love is just easing the waiting before dying without company” – and it offers little relief from its earnestness. The London trio’s debut had an intimacy to its sadness, as if thoughts were being confessed in close proximity to its listener – there was a human warmth.
Daughter is the sort of band you sometimes forget about. Sprawling about the indie-adult-contemporary circuit, the group’s been around since 2010, with their self-released His Young Heart EP uploaded to Bandcamp in 2011 — hushed, folky melodies from Elena Tonra’s gorgeous voice, strung together through tender fingerpicking and soft, complacent reverbs. “Gorgeous” here in that Adele or Florence Welch kinda way.
As Daughter walk forwards towards a new horizon and a second album they don’t leave much in their wake – no skin shed and nothing to prove. All the shades that made If You Leave remain and what emerges is a snapshot of a sound, a talent and a style stretching and evolving – still being clipped, and carved and sculpted. Opening track “New Ways” wraps itself around you and doesn’t let go - like someone you haven’t seen in years.
Early in its career, the London-based trio Daughter was labeled as everything from nü-folk to “Enya meets Eno.” In reality, the sound fell somewhere in between Songs: Ohia and Bat For Lashes: Daughter’s debut, 2013’s If You Leave, possessed space-filled arrangements and minimal instrumentation, which placed frontwoman Elena Tonra’s dusky vocals and ruminating on ruined relationships at the forefront. These gorgeous songs were subtle but moving, and led to Daughter opening shows for The National and recording a 4AD Sessions EP with a classical ensemble. Despite denser arrangements, the group’s equally lovely second album, Not To Disappear, also takes an economical, meticulous approach.
by Austin Reed If there’s one lesson to mine from Holy Ghost’s 2013 LP Dynamics, it’s that musical versatility only works if the focus is both established and omnipresent. Unfortunately, the Brooklyn duo learned that lesson the hard way; despite the purest of intent and a handful of solid dance cuts, Dynamics was spread way too thin, attempting to cover the meaty, melodic four-on-the-floor propensities of Holy Ghost-past while navigating the disenfranchised mentality of Holy Ghost-future. In retrospect, calling Dynamics an emotional turning point seems legit, but at the time, Holy Ghost seemed confused by the conflict between the party euphoria and the psychological warfare that ensued the next morning.