Daughter – Not to Disappear

The ‘difficult’ second album: when London based trio Daughter started recording the follow up to their stunning 2013 debut If You Leave, the pressure to deliver a worthy successor must have been immense. Very few bands know what it is like to shoulder that kind of burden of expectation – their debut was an unimaginable success, both critically and commercially.

It was an album that immediately catapulted them into the limelight and saw them become one of the most talked about new bands in recent years. Elena Tonra’s raw, unflinching lyrics and the band’s sparse, atmospheric folk rock seemed to strike a chord and rapidly gathered them a devoted fan base – following that up, was always going to be a challenge.

Almost three years later Not to Disappear arrives, and it has been well worth the wait.

It’s a record that trades on many of the elements that drew fans in on their first outing – the sparse, atmospheric, lights out music now incorporating textured beats while Tonra draws blood with her broken words.

Daughter make a kind of Adult Oriented Emo, kindred spirits with bands like the XX. Songs like ‘Mothers’ and ‘New Ways’ quietly detonate in the heart, as the weight of Tonra’s lyrics gild these songs with a numbed loneliness that seems to be a core theme on the album. ‘Doing the Right Thing’ deals with the very un-rock and roll subject of Alzheimer’s disease, and does so in a way that is both sensitive and heartbreakingly poignant.

Tonra’s experience of the disease within her own family circle makes this one of her most personal songs to date, and also one of the big highlights on the album. ‘No Care’ ups the pace, words piled on top of each other over a driving beat and some very Cure-like guitars.

Not to Disappear confirms what their debut album hinted at – Daughter are a seriously talented outfit with the song-writing chops and musical ability to back up all the hype and praise that has been lavished upon them. To ignore them on the basis that they are a commercially successful, mainstream act would be a mistake – Not to Disappear is a brave and beautiful album that warrants your attention.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)