Thursday, 5 December 2013
Albums of the Year 2013 #15 - London Grammar - If You Wait
London Grammar’s debut LP was at one stage this year the favourite to win the Mercury prize, even before it had been released or the short list announced. Eventually the judges found no space for If You Wait’s gentle sophistication, but irrespective of music industry prizes this record finds a space in our heart.
The centrepiece of If You Wait is Hannah Reid’s vocals. Her voice is both otherworldly and powerfully soulful. Yet the music created by the three-piece is gracefully subtle – every finger pick of guitar, every smooth keyboard note perfectly nuanced and cast. It’s an album that deals with relationships and in particular the journey continuing beyond a certain point. “And when you cross that bridge, I’ll come find you.” “You crossed this line, do you find it hard to sit with me tonight?” “What are you afraid of?” “Desire paths will lead you quicker here.” All these lyrics hint at a need for taking things further, but one of the parties isn’t quite ready for that yet.
The music perfectly fits the sense of uncertain abeyance in the lyrics. It’s often slow, intimate sounding, fluidly flawless in its construction. It never forces itself on you, but gradually coaxes you in with gentle beats, keys, strings and soothing beauty. It's very much an album that fits the template of modern pop construct, taking the sounds of late night restraint that has grown in popularity over the last few years with the likes of The XX and James Blake and then finds its own elegant space within that design.
London Grammar - Interlude
London Grammar - Wasting My Young Years (Video)