Daughter (photo by Francesca Jane Allen, PR)
Not To Disappear
The London-based, dream-pop trio Daughter is back with a second album, Not To Disappear. This latest release comes a little over two and a half years after their debut, If You Leave. The band has been together since 2010 and consists of English vocalist, guitarist and bassist Elena Tonra, guitarist Igor Haefeli (from Switzerland) and drummer Remi Aguilella (from France).
For this sophomore outing, they opted to work with Brooklyn-based, Paris-raised producer and engineer Nicolas Vernhes, who has also worked with Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors and Deerhunter.
Not To Disappear is a confident work that builds off the sonics that Daughter created on the first album and on their early EPs. They paint a texturally rich landscape through an adventurous use of instrumentation that includes waves of guitars, both crystalline and distorted, and various electronics. These are married together and propelled forward by heartbeat-like percussion. It’s a sound that plays like the soundtrack to an entrancing drama.
While the music alone generates a considerable amount of intense emotion, it’s the lyrics of Elena Tonra that cut through to the heart. Tonra sings her words in a soft, ethereal voice that manages to be strong-willed and emotionally disconnected at the same time. The songs convey moods of loneliness, isolation, longing, loss, fear, grief and even veiled anger.
Tonra has explained that her grandmother’s battle with dementia inspired the expressions of isolation and the desire not to disappear. These are dealt with in “Doing The Right Thing.” Elsewhere, “Made Of Stone” reveals impending emotional detachment, while “Alone/With You” articulates a contradictory look at relationships.
On Not To Disappear, Daughter excels at creating music that initially seems to hang weightless in the air, but abruptly becomes substantially dense, delivering brutally honest observations that are cloaked in a thick mist of guitars and keyboards. These observations manage to convey both a personal vulnerability and a defiant confidence. It’s a formula that is unlikely to disappear.