Not to disappear is the second album to come from London-based band Daughter. Released two years after their debut, it coincides with their current UK-wide headline tour, making it an incredibly exciting time for the band. Haunting, brooding and emotive: three words that describe “Daughter’s” music. From the first album to the second, this has remained constant.
‘New Ways’ the opening track, with its gradually building instrumental introduction creates a sense of theatrics and suspense. Elena Tonra’s haunting vocals are projected with spine-chilling effect, while, the phrase “not to disappear” acts as a motif in the song. The use of echo and overlapping melodies really adds to the haunting nature of the song and personifies the meaning behind the lyrics. A powerful sense of being on the edge of disappearing is created.
The album as a whole is very brooding. Daughter is not a band to listen to for light-hearted relief. Much of the content covers incredibly serious and contested subjects. This brooding impact is created with slow, lilting melodies; serious and poignant lyrics and minor keys. While the lyrics in “Doing the right thing” are bleak, they are by no means depressing. The honesty behind the words “I’m just fearing one day soon I’ll lose my mind. Then I’ll lose my children. Then I’ll lose my love.” shows a raw response to the fragility of mental health, a topic of much current discussion and awareness in recent times. And so, while brooding, the album aims to make clear and profound statements. The presence of such important messages is of course needed. However, it seems that the presence of numerous tracks that focus on downbeat subjects detracts from their individually profound meanings.
Daughter create a great deal of emotion through the album. ‘To Belong’ struck a particular chord. The repeated leading line: “don’t you think we’d be better off” highlights many human insecurities and is easy to empathise with. However, the lyrics are masked by the varying echoing guitars and synths meaning that much of this emotion is lost amongst the melody- which is unfortunate.
Despite the techniques utilised, I remain slightly unconvinced. None of the tracks are particularly varied. While the album makes for good background music, it doesn’t immediately captivate the listener. This personal interpretation is likely to meet some opposition. Yet, the suspense and build-up created in ‘New Ways’ isn’t maintained. This is not to detract completely from the musicality and quality of the band. Daughter are exploring a very independent genre and in experimentation there should always be successes and failures. Not to disappear is far from a failure, it just failed to live up to the expectations held after Daughter’s debut.By Rachel Moore