Born from the solo talents of frontlady Elena Tonra are three-piece gothic-folk outfit Daughter. Having released spurious EPs in the run up to their much awaited debut LP If You Leave. This is not an album for the faint hearted, nor for the impossibly happy, it is instead a drawn out reflection; wistful and winding in and out of sorrow and wanting.
The album may be criticised for being overly sad and meaninglessly morose but its simplicity is stunning. Tonra’s haunting and monochrome melancholy lead us into opener “Winter” with uncomplicated guitar licks and a calm sets the scene for the rest of the LP. “Smother” has been lifted out of its own self titled EP and remastered, Tonra’s whisper shadows the ethereal guitar which ebbs and flows in and out of consciousness. Lyrically, Daughter are very on the sleeve, genuine and fragile, none more so than in “Youth” one of the most recognisable tracks on the record. The track glides along a beautifully glowing riff, haunting and heart-wrenching. The depth of the track is mesmerising, “setting fire to our insides, just for fun, collecting names of the lovers that went wrong” and the track crashes into cymbals and strings and Tonra rises to meet them “we are the reckless, we are the wild youth”. There’s a beautiful mini-pause that stops Tonra every time she punches “dead” into the end of a line. Often moving, and sometimes disturbing, tracks like “Youth” lay Tonra’s heart on display, and there are times where it can be quite terrifying. Terrifying, but beautiful.
The simple sultry style expands through “Still” until sorrow is briefly interrupted by the comparatively animated “Human”, an upbeat and less serious track of skippy folk-guitar strumming which mask the eternally downhearted whines. “Tomorrow” screeches in and out of each verse, from vulnerable into intense and back again.
The album continues to wind through a Gothic graveyard of sultry sorrow into the magnificent closer “Shadows”. It is the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. The happy ending to the sad tale. Another gliding guitar under another mellow vocal bringing an end to a dark romantic tale, and a magically crafted record. If You Leave is a brilliant debut from a band who are gaining a following packed with big names and leaves plenty of room to grow into something much grander. By no means an album to cheer you up, but most definitely record to sit back and get lost in, again and again.
…Adam is listening to Paul Simon – “You Can Call Me Al”