Daughter – Not to Disappear

Album Review by Gary Kaill | 06 Jan 2016
Album title: Not to Disappear
Artist: Daughter
Label: 4AD
Release date: 22 Jan

If Daughter's debut had you label the London trio as de rigueur indie alt-folk, think again: Not to Disappear sets their tender, haunted shadowplay alight. A thrilling expansion of the template, this document of (once again) lovers that went wrong is not for the fearful, but these songs are a league ahead of their predecessors: the desperate longing of opener New Ways ('I need new ways to waste my time… but there is something in you I can’t be without'); Doing the Right Thing (where the POV switches, disconcertingly, to Elena Tonra's Alzheimer's-stricken grandmother); the seething thrum of No Care ('Oh, there has only been one night where we fucked and I felt like a bad memory / Like my spine was a reminder of her'). And with a newly expanded sound, Daughter are suddenly huge.

Numbness and self-loathing sit deep at the album's core. There's no hiding from these songs: they know you inside out. It might – just – be a redemptive experience. Certainly, as Tonra flails for love among the ruins, you feel her shaking off the ghosts. Not to Disappear is shattering throughout: a brooding sound board, crackling guitars, unsettling beats and Tonra buried in there somewhere, documenting unspeakable hurt, graphic and unfiltered.

There are times when she veers perilously close to enactment and you fear for her. But Not to Disappear is an uncommonly generous work: relatable rather than voyeuristic. Ultimately, Tonra is telling all our stories and her spare, elegant poetry is aflame with a righteous fury. Daughter come of age, and how.

Playing Manchester Albert Hall on 21 Jan, Liverpool Academy on 22 Jan and Edinburgh Queen's Hall on 23 Jan http://ohdaughter.com