London Grammar – Truth is a Beautiful Thing
In retrospect, the breathless anticipation which preempted London Grammar’s debut wasn’t so surprising given the timing. Released in 2013, If You Wait offered a sparse yet vast, tastefully gloomy sound at the same time as Daughter’s hype train was also rocketing out of the station. The bookies pegged it for the Mercury, but it was beaten out by none other than James Blake. Clearly something was in the air; something delicate and dripping with reverb.
Hannah Reid’s enormous voice set the group apart back then and she still sings the competition under the table this time around. While always admirable on a technical level, her flashy delivery also makes for a few memorable gut punches. One is when she pirouettes into the upper echelons of her register during Rooting for You, conveying the affection and apprehension contained in the line 'you’re the only thing I’ve ever truly known'. The low scoops on Hell to the Liars are another, as if Reid’s digging in her heels to stand firmly against 'the righteous ones'.
But these are rare instances of genuine feeling amongst what otherwise feels like palatable but empty theatrics. While the instrumentation on Truth is a Beautiful Thing still takes watered down cues from The xx, it also reveals what the whole melancholic echo-pop set owes to U2. All deal in big, spacious gestures that exists in some liminal space between minor and major, expressive in an ambiguous way that risks proving more popular than it does moving.
Listen to: Rooting for You, Everybody Else