Oh Dear! Act in haste, repent at leisure springs to mind. Although in my defence I did rather enjoy Daughter at
Glastonbury, enough to award them second
place in my Top Three for Glasto 2013.
There was something about them in a live environment that was quite
beguiling but translating their slightly ethereal material to the studio has
not quite worked for them.
Following their Festival appearance, I downloaded their debut album for 4AD, ‘If You Leave’ and have been listening to it on the inevitable ipod commute. Unfortunately it has not really gripped me. Without the visuals and expansiveness that live performance allows, their set sounds a bit flat, repetitive and devoid of any really memorable tunes, which is a bit of a disappointment, to say the least as I had great expectations for this unlikely trio.
On the plus side, Elena Tonra’s songs have a pleasant lilting quality and exquisite lyrics and each one has been beautifully arranged by fellow band members, Igor Haefeli (guitar) and Remi Aguilella (drums), but the whole is an object lesson in why everything really comes down to the tunes. Many have argued that the lyrical content of a song is what really matters but unless you are Bob Dylan or Joni Mitchell, this is a very shaky premise. For me, this album proves the point that unless you can write a decent tune all the production stardust in the world will not save it.
That is not to say that some of the songs are not OK but too many are a bit aimless melodically and the pace is too homogenous and too measured throughout the ten or so songs. It needs a bit of livening up and a bit of drama added (compare with
Florence and the Machine,
for example) to really set it free. Even
Sade’s ‘Diamond Life’, that seminal 80s cocktail album, had a verve about it
despite its mellow quality that allowed you to keep interested. Daughter, on the other hand, have produced a
beautiful sounding album that appears to have all the right ingredients, yet
still does not gel
I can’t help feeling that at the moment, Daughter really ought to be a ‘singles’ band as to hear one song at a time is still quite an experience. It is when you are forced to listen to 10 of them in a row that the impact is lost. Perhaps next time?
And on that note, I am sad to say that I am ceasing writing my regular posts on this blog. These last few months have been more of a chore than an enjoyment so after 7 or so years and over 300 posts I am retiring. I may post from time to time but for now, I am taking a break. Thanks to all of you who have read my musings and commented here. It’s been fun.