Hannah Reid's crisp notes have continued to serve a critical function in the band's finely balanced symphonic sound, a gravitas to their songwriting that for the last eight years has proved a sporadic yet consistently tight force. A nudging departure from the grandiose continuity of Truth Is a Beautiful Thing, Californian Soil is indicative of the band incrementally tweaking their immaculate heart-rending aesthetic, an impulse they indulged on the former but certifiably embrace with their latest. Operatic vocal swoons pivot through the title track, a string section reaching to the opulence of previous records, yet a newfound freedom shakes up proceedings serving as a clear reminder of the outfit's immeasurable talent as a unit.
London Grammar never made a lot of noise. Even as singer Hannah Reid's throaty alto garnered comparisons to Florence Welch, she and bandmates Dot Major and Dan Rothman rarely offered anything more surprising than the occasional end-of-song breakbeat. The huge proportions of Adele producers Greg Kurstin and Paul Epworth left 2017's Truth Is a Beautiful Thing sounding slumberous, so London Grammar's third full-length, Californian Soil, attempts instead to channel the energy of Reid's past collaborations with Disclosure and Flume.
With their 2013 debut 'If You Wait', and its 2017 number one follow-up, London Grammar established themselves as both ethereal indie darlings and mainstream pop royalty. It's a duality that's seen the trio equally at home on UK festival stages, as they were the stereos of Balearic beach bars. Indeed, with such success one might assume comes a certain level of respect.