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Daughter 'Not To Disappear' review

Daughter 'Not To Disappear' review

Alexander Bentley pencils how 'Not To Disappear' will not cure your January blues.

Ben Smith

Last updated: 24th Mar 2016

Image: Daughter 

For their return, Daughter pick up from where they left off on their beautifully sorrowful debut album If You Leave. The trio teamed up again with producer Nicolas Vernhes (The War On Drugs / Deerhunter) and, as the opening track ‘New Ways’ jitters into life, there is a feeling of familiarity to the sound.

As the distorted, synth-driven waves of the album opener subside, new single ‘Numbers’ begins to swirl with frontwoman Elena Tonra’s mantra: “I feel numb”. 

The sentiment shows a real shift from the poetry of Daughter’s debut LP. Tonra continues to strip herself bare in her lyrics, but is now more honest and that transcends into a feeling that we are prying into some deeply personal thoughts.

The strong opening shows no signs of slowing with the heartbreaking lead single ‘Doing The Right Thing’. Taking the perspective of her grandmother, who suffers with Alzheimer’s, Tonra explores the feelings of memory loss and the results are captivating: “And when it's dark /I'll call out in the night for my mother / But she isn't coming back for me/ Cause she's already gone...” she quivers. The lament is perfected with an eerie drumbeat and ambient guitar tone which is left naked to lead into the chorus.

From there, Not To Disappear continues gloomily with guitarist Igor Haefeli sparingly interjecting with dulcet notes that punctuate Tonra’s melancholic search for catharsis. 

 ‘Alone / With You’ arrives in the second half of the album to provide a spark as the Daughter trio push their sound. A washed out house beat with a staggered bassline is the backdrop to the most aggressive cries from Tonra as she fights against loneliness.

Spurred on with the new sound, the frantic ‘No Care’ is a blast of energy that fights back against the abyss and from the band settling into just one distinctive groove.

The emotional rollercoaster of Not To Disappear ends with a faint whiff of hope. ‘Made Of Stone’ is a characteristic slow burner; atmospheric and dreamy, and as it reaches its close, Tonra whispers: “You'll find love, kid, it exists.”

Daughter have found growth in Not To Disappear. While their debut album slow danced towards its impending doom, Daughter have created a ‘post-break up album’; one which often revels within its own darkness.

The trio face demons with confidence, both sonically and lyrically, and throughout they embrace the indie-folk sound of their debut whilst also looking ahead to the endless horizon.

Words: Alexander Bentley