Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Albums of the Year 2013 #3 - Daughter - If You Leave

Take a look at any iGeneration 20 something or teen’s listening habits and the chances are you’ll see what looks like chronic attention deficit disorder. As swipe quickly, click a love heart, on the go behaviour becomes the norm with the likes of Spotify providing endless choice, music listening becomes the sonic equivalent of the new Tinder app – shallowly rejecting anything that isn’t instantly perfect and moving on. Music is being treated as a casual one night stand where you don’t even bother to find out the person’s name. The art of listening to an album over and over and falling deeper and deeper in love with it is becoming lost. 

Daughter’s If You Leave is the antidote to this poison. It’s an album that finds itself in third place on this Albums of the Year list because it’s one that we’ve played nearly more than any other in 2013 and like a slow burning fire in a room first it smouldered then it burnt and then there was the full intensity of flashover. 

If You Leave is a beautifully crafted, emotionally heavy album. The lyrics are often bleak and heartbreaking, Elena Tonra’s vocals often blankly icy, the chiming guitars desolate, painting oppressive atmospheres that suit the post break-up pain of the lyrics perfectly. If You Leave is the complete antithesis of records that sing of how “oo-oo baby baby I love you, you’re so hot in da club.” It’s an album that treats love like cancer – a disease that will inevitably end in grief. “Don’t bring tomorrow because I already know I’ll lose you,” Elena whispers on Tomorrow. Lust is a drug that can help stop her feeling “dead behind the eyes” as she sings of wanting to be touched  “just so I can feel something,” on Touch. Then there’s Youth, the stand out track on the record. It features one of our favourite lyrics of the year: “And if you're still breathing, you're the lucky ones. 'Cause most of us are heaving through corrupted lungs, setting fire to our insides for fun.”

Out of Elena’s emotionally damaged open diary we’ve found a huge amount of pleasure in If You Leave in 2013. It’s an album that is unlikely to grab you fully on first listen. Like all the best things it requires a little time to live with, time to sink into its tender troublesome depths. Take a dive with it and you may not come up for air for a long time.

Daughter - Still (Video)

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