Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pitstop: Daughter

My discovery of England's Daughter came from Eric over at The Wild Honey Pie. After a friendship forged from me simply being at the right place at the right time in the form of Wild Honey Pie events and showcases, Eric would constantly ask me if I've seen this or that session that they put out that day/week. My answer was usually a guilty no and one time that guilt led to me immediately seek out the latest, recommended session which just so happened to be Daughter.

What a session that was. Daughter are, with the fear of sounding like an over-exaggerator, creating some of the most staggeringly beautiful music I've ever encountered. What makes Daughter so unique in how incredible thought out every aspect of their songs seem to be. Principal songwriter Elena Tonra has an absolute gift for painting utterly devastating pictures of failed love. It's a rarity where absolutely every single phrase in a song is important or invaluable but that's what you get with Tonra's heartbreakingly poetic lyricism.

"If you're still breathing you're the lucky ones because most of us are breathing through corrupted lungs/Setting fire to our insides for fun/Collecting names of the lovers that went wrong" Tonra sings on "Youth" and damn if it doesn't pack all of the punches. It's one of the first moments you experience in "Youth" and the lack of restraint is characteristic of Tonra's songwriting. All the while being set to these incredible arrangements that find the perfect balance between stark and lush. Tonra and the feelings she envokes are at the forefront of Daughter but clearly not its only draw.

Despite their ability to induce sudden empathetic heartbreak, Daughter aren't the type to be relegated to pure mood music - used only on the break up mix or times when you just feel like feeling sad, Daughter's songs have a poppy momentum that makes them capable of repetition without coming across as baseless; losing any of their impact. His Young Heart's "The Woods" proves Daughter's haunting beauty can exist separate from tales of heartbreak. It doesn't matter the tale Tonra decides to tell, it'll be carefully crafted, well plotted artfully arranged, and achingly tender.

Daughter's very good debut album If You Leave is out now on 4AD. I highly recommend it.

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