Release Date: Mar 25, 2014
Record label: Warner/Chappell Music
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
After posting their debut single 'Hey Now' online last December, Hannah Reid, Dot Major and Dan Rothman have been on a sharp ascent. They've further established their brand of dancefloor skirting laments ('Metal and Dust'), played festivals and sold-out live shows, and collaborated with Disclosure on one of Settle's standout tracks ('Help Me Lose My Mind'). The ensuing scramble to praise or criticise them has seen their music compared to a raft of esteemed artists - both past and present, obvious and coincidental.
More than the navel gazing album of 2013 (although its shadowy, late-night vibe certainly does invite the thinking of deep thoughts), London Grammar's debut full-length If You Wait represents a strong argument for instrumental austerity. With songs comprised of delicate cobwebs of little more than keys, guitar, and vocalist Hannah Reid's soprano slur, the London-based trio captures the fragile emotional state of youth rather than settling for an apathetic shade of gray. (Let's see The xx—a band London Grammar is often compared to—try that.) .
What’s The xx’s music really like? It’s cool, yet emotional; soft, yet powerful. One thing’s for sure: Its catchy choruses, sweet bass lines, and Jamie xx’s production have, historically speaking, been (relatively) incomparable, but in an entirely good way. A recently conceived comparison, however, is finally here. London Grammar is composed of young Londoners Dot Major, Hannah Reid, and Dan Rothman, they’re growing exponentially in popularity, and on their debut, If You Wait, they’re ironically talking of “wasting [their] young years.” Reid is a reflective, emotionally-driven vocalist.
When an album is proclaimed the frontrunner for the UK's Mercury Music Prize before it's even released, it's a sign of both the accelerated nature of the modern hype cycle as well as a vote of confidence in a band's ability to deliver the goods. That London Grammar have been the latest recipients of this sort of breathless anticipation shouldn't shock-- their influences are the kind of alternative-but-still-polite acts generally favored by the prize, and they were featured on "Help Me Lose My Mind", a highlight from Disclosure's Settle. But a cynic tempted to dismiss their downcast take on spacious, reverb-heavy pop as a calculated attempt to muscle into a sizzling market would miss out on an accomplished debut that belies the fact that this trio of Nottingham University alumni wrote and recorded their first song together less than a year ago.
English trio London Grammar have quietly amassed a body of atmospheric, electronic pop material since they first posted "Metal & Dust" on the internet in 2012. Partnered with an appearance on Disclosure's Mercury-nominated album Settle, the Nottingham University alumni had set the internet hype machine in motion, less than a year after forming. With obvious nods to the unfussy, reverbed guitar motifs of the xx, alongside Hannah Reid's beautiful, emotive vocal ability -- which rises and falls with an alarmingly disarming effect -- the album is a practice in refrain, where each song is pushed to the brink of an inevitable climax and achingly, no further.
It’s unfortunate the second track is called ‘Stay Awake’, because throughout their debut album London Grammar walk a fine line between haunting and boring. On the polite indietronica of ‘Hey Now’ and ‘Shyer’, the trio are a sexless version of The xx, and po-faced ballad ‘If You Wait’ is like Adele without the snotty tears. Singer Hannah Reid has a big, important-sounding voice though, and elsewhere she and her bandmates come up with compelling stuff: majestic recent single ‘Wasting My Young Years’ or ‘Metal & Dust’, a classy combination of pop hooks and trip-hop beats.Nick Levine .
Of the buzz bands that have come through in 2013, London Grammar’s rise has probably been the most steady and natural. They formed in 2009 when vocalist Hannah Reid and Dan Rothman met at university, adding keyboard player Dot Major later, and initially played small gigs at local bars. Things started to pick up last year when the trio posted single Hey Now on YouTube.
London GrammarIf You Wait(Columbia)Rating: 3 stars You won’t need to wait long to understand the sound of London Grammar. It’s all there on “Hey Now,” the UK trio’s opening track of this, their debut album. Hushed piano chords and lazy, languid, circular guitar lines create a bed that lead singer Hannah Reid floats above with a luxurious, chocolate syrupy voice somewhere between Kate Bush, Bat for Lashes’ Natasha Khan and Alison Moyet.
Though London Grammar aren't the first act to replicate the xx's understated beats, the Nottingham-formed trio differ from their peers in employing a singer – Hannah Reid – who could be a British Stevie Nicks from the folk-rock scene of the mid-1970s. Theirs, then, is an unlikely mix of old and new and, while every single track on their debut album is beautifully constructed and impossible to dislike, it lacks the imperfections that excite. Still, in current single Strong and Wasting My Young Years, they possess two songs that are equally suited to a dance show on 6 Music and daytime on Radio 2.
A trio of Nottingham University graduates who only released their first music last December, London Grammar are so buzzy that there are expectations of a Mercury nomination, despite this album not being out until next week. Blame it on their trippy, translucent electronica, which outdoes even the xx in terms of veiled understatement – this record is essentially comprised of slow-build digital clacks and sighs. There's a startling counterpoint in Hannah Reid's fleshy vocals; in full flight, as on Strong, she brings Evanescence-style emo to the hush, and she has the lung capacity of Sia Furler on Hey Now (whose intro is near-identical to Furler's Titanium).
opinion byBENJI TAYLOR THE NEXT BIG THING. Such a label serves at once as a curse and a blessing, for messianic crowns come studded with thorns, and chalices emblazoned with this inscription are often tainted with poison. Custodians of the title can implode under the weight of expectation, or fail to bottle further the magic of that first hit single.
The shimmering, glacial vocals of Hannah Reid are hard to miss. It’s at the very heart of what London Grammar do, and mean there’s a stillness to ‘If You Wait’ which helps to elevate her voice further, as it shines and controls most of this debut album.There are worse things of course. Controlled and captivating. though never approaching Florence levels of histrionics (who she is often compared to), it’s a voice of beauty.