Dark isn’t always depressing. Sometimes darkness can be a comforting presence. A reflection of deeper or unvoiced thoughts we aren’t willing to entertain in our daily life.
Daughter’s music navigates this curious and pleasing realm of bittersweet reflection and revelation. Composed of lovers/partners, Elena Tonra and Igor Haefeli, and Ian Grimble, Daughter’s sound is decidedly somber, yet not morose. From the very first single I heard, “Landfill”, I was taken aback by the simplicity, intimacy and depth of the lead singer’s voice and the band’s writing. There is an assertive and unrelenting candor when Elena tells her listener: “This is dangerous, ’cause I want you so much, but I hate your guts.” For anyone who has ever loved or longed after someone for whom they shouldn’t (whether because they were “wronged”, “disregarded” or because they were bad for them), these lines can’t help but resonate with frightening relevance. Moreover, the opening imagery of the discarded lover as rubbish to be left in a “landfill” is so striking and vivid, you know that you are in the hands of a gifted songwriter.
Although the UK press seems to find traces of Bjork and Dolores O’Riordan (of the Cranberries) in Elena’s voice, I think the more apt comparison is to Beth Orton both in sound and tone. Like Beth Orton, Daughter’s music is decidedly folk in its origins with minimalist layers of electronic layers and sounds to fill and amplify the central acoustic guitar. Also, there are little hints of the xx’s brooding neo-Goth (or ElectroGoth) sound from their debut record. (In case you haven’t already, check out the new xx track, “Angels”, here.)
To date, Daughter has released two EPs, His Young Heart and The Wild Youth, both of which are stunning in their lyrical clarity and poignancy. While I find both EPs a compelling and engaging listen from start to finish, “Candles” from His Young Heart and “Youth” from The Wild Youth are particularly engrossing. At the outset “Candles” evokes the aural landscape style of Bon Iver‘s “Holocene” but grows into an aggressive folk rock piece with Elena sounding like a mix of Florence Welch and Kate Nash. “Youth” begins in a similar fashion, a light airy environment that builds up the tempo and turns pleasantly aggressive in its tone: “We are the reckless, we are the wild youth, chasing visions of our futures.”
Or, listen below to His Young Heart, via Soundcloud: