Question: just how do you go about trying to match an album as peerless, wholly immersive, and as widely acclaimed and adored as Daughter’s 2013 debut ‘If You Leave’? Simple: up the ante on every level. Building on that record’s gloriously dark intensity, wracked emotion and come-hither diaphanous textures, ‘Not To Disappear’, the new full-length release from the London-based trio – singer/guitarist Elena Tonra, guitarist/producer Igor Haefeli and drummer Remi Aguilella – is a mighty declaration of intent. Profoundly ruminative, bold and direct, it’s arguably even more assertive and compelling than its much-lauded predecessor.
Haefeli has spoken previously about wanting to expand the band’s sound into increasingly widescreen realms, this time, there’s distinctly more dramatic ebb and flow, as quiet intimacy lurches into thrilling kaleidoscopic expanses, noticeably more epic and ambitious in scope than the Daughter of just a couple of years ago. ‘Numbers’ soars and swoops through exhilarating crescendos, as Tonra recites the song’s mantra – “I feel numb/I feel numb in this kingdom” – over and over; and ‘Fossa’, like some majestic convergence of Radiohead and Sigur Rós, is possibly one of Daughter’s most euphoric moments yet. There are unexpected bursts of uptempo energy, as on the propulsive stomp of ‘No Care’ – consciously striving to mix things up. The lyrics – always Tonra’s domain – are more forthright, too. “On this record, I’ve gone to places I maybe wouldn’t have been that comfortable with before” she explains; “it feels like I’m being braver, which is liberating.”
‘Not To Disappear’ finds Daughter evolving in interesting ways. The signature motifs are still very much in evidence, but there’s a real sense of the trio opening up to new ideas. This time, Daughter feel like an entirely new, different and increasingly fearless proposition; the alchemy of their music – more resonant and emphatic, even louder in places – somehow doubly alluring.