And so we begin the cycle of album reviews for another year. No better way to kick it off than with the amuse bouche of Daughter, a band that turned out to be the sleeper success of recent times. Thanks in small part to the championing by Radio 1, Elena Tonra and crew won over a nation with their blend of alt-folk and chart-leaning melodies.
Occasionally with such stories, there’s very much a sense of success around perceived depth as opposed to actual, like reading a Paolo Coelho book. Daughter to do well to dispel that on Not To Disappear, opening with the viscous guitar of New Ways as Tonra commands every ounce of attention with subdued existential musing (“I’m just trying to get out/ find a subtle way out/ not just cross myself out/ not just disappear”). As Numbers takes over, it’s clear that the trio are keen to push their sound and take on new challenges, coming across as they do here as the bridge between The xx and Portishead.
Of course, there may be complaints that this is a largely monochromatic record. Sure, angst plays a large part of Daughter’s oeuvre – as lead single Doing The Right Thing will testify – and the tone of atmospheric grunge (no, really) is pretty consistent. But the beauty with this lot comes from the way they mine that space, eking out new shades and giving Tonra’s voice room to stretch like a prolonged, captivating elegy. There is one jarring note in the very obvious radio-bait of No Care, however it’s immediately offset by the breathtaking standout To Belong, resulting in a record that remains rich and arresting on every listen. Needless to say, disappearing certainly won’t be an option for them after this.
Not To Disappear by Daughter can be ordered here.