Daughter – If You Leave

Since the release of their debut EP in 2011, the music industry has been abuzz with rumours that London based trio Daughter were a band to watch. A growing live following and the patronage of BBC Radio 1 seemed to suggest that Daughter were a promising act moving in the right direction. But nobody could have expected this.

If You Leave is an astonishing debut, an album of such brutal, searing honesty it leaves you pinned to the wall from the very first listen. Sounding a little like a more fleshed out, less skeletal version of fellow Londoners The xx, Daughter create ambient, spacious guitar atmospherics as a backdrop for singer Elena Tonra’s painful words of heartbreak, loss and regret to create something incredibly powerful.

There is no let up or hiding place from the naked honesty of these words; the choking sadness and self-loathing of ‘Smother’ is at once both breathtaking and chilling while ‘Youth’ continues in the same vein with Tonra singing: ‘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/Collecting names of the lovers that went wrong…’

The beautiful, cascading guitars of ‘Still’ and jagged, serrated edges of ‘Lifeforms’ are stunning highlights of an album that is uniformly strong from start to finish.

The contrast between the stark, sparse arrangements and Tonra’s stunning words and vocals lend this music its quiet power – this is a staggeringly assured and accomplished debut that will ensure that Daughter leave the indie ghetto behind before very long. It is not difficult to envisage Daughter filling arenas with their vast and cavernous sound – this is BIG music despite the painfully intimate nature of the subject matter.

With If You Leave, Daughter have delivered an album that ranks up there with the very best debut albums of recent years; a scarily magnificent tour de force that leaves the listener bloodied and bruised but wanting to do it all again the moment the last notes fade away. Heartbreak has never sounded quite as blissful as this.

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)