Daughter’s debut album If You Leave is a delightful mixture of intense, raw and sometimes claustrophobic angst. It is truly hypnotic and you will find yourself slipping into a deep trance as Daughter guide you through the perils of failed romance. They certainly seem to revel in the dark and this shines through in their ethereal and menacing melodies.
Is this just another depressing self-indulgent album? Well I guess the answer could be yes but I don’t think that should mar your judgement. Of course this album has the sort of songs that will be played on depressing so-called ‘gripping dramas’, with clichéd shots of broken lovers walking in the rain. The track ‘Tomorrow’ would be perfect for this, as lead singer Elena laments “don’t bring tomorrow cause I already know I’ll lose you”. This by no means should be seen as a criticism. Daughter appear aware of the deliberate misery of this album and capitalise on it.
But hope is not lost, just as you think Daughter are going to take you over the edge, they bring you right back in with ‘Human’. Again the lyrics explore the darker recesses of Daughter’s mind but perfectly complement this exploration with light percussion and driving guitar rhythms. There is also an obscure sense of optimism as Elena declares “despite everything I’m still human” making this one of the stand out tracks of the album.
Another standout track of the album is ‘Youth’. Fans of Daughter will already be well acquainted with this song and this has the potential to be the anthem of the album. As she sings, “we are the reckless, we are the wild youth”, it seems to have a distinct sense of solidarity about it. Another brief glimpse that there’s more to life than the gloomy picture that the rest of the album portrays.
The ultimate track ‘Shallows’ implores the listener to “come to the sea with me my love/and drown with me”. The hypnotic and eerily enchanting nature of this request is completely impossible to refuse; taking you by the hand and leading you right to the edge of the cliff. It also holds the element of a sea siren to it, as Elena’s haunting vocals gently lull you into the murky depths of the water.
If You Leave is not a debut album that will immediately capture your attention. Its methods of seduction are far more subtle. Think of it like a slow burning candle. The deeper you go into this album the brighter its light shines through. The only criticism I would have is the lack of real distinction between the tracks. This album is admittedly one that takes you on a journey but there are times when all of the tracks seem to merge into one swell of emotion. Ultimately I don’t think this is detrimental to the quality of the album but may make it difficult to decipher exactly what track it was you just listened to.
Daughter are undeniably hypnotic and haunting in nature. This debut album is one that I suspect will slowly emerge onto the scene rather than catapult itself into the limelight. However this is how it should be. Daughter are not ones to throw themselves into the centre of a crowded room. Their sound is packed full of smouldering intensity that is only noticed when they invite you in. I urge you all to allow yourself to be lead through the shadowy passages of this album that depict the darkest recesses of Daughter’s mind. If you do so I guarantee you will be utterly transfixed.