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Daughter – “Not To Disappear” Review

Shoegazing into my heart
daughter by Sonny Malhotra

I came a bit late to Daughter’s first album but really appreciated it when I got there. “Not To Disappear” keeps a similar tone to their debut which is no bad thing, but things are darker and even more melancholy than before.

“New Ways” brings the shoegazing to a slow drone as all the instruments echo away into the distance. The chords are in a constant down-spiral and the quicker the vocals are sung the more desperate the track feels. For a slow track, it’s got a ton of momentum behind it and emotional impact too. “Numbers” has some epic percussion that pound your ears whilst the lyrics “I feel numb in my kingdom” repeat over and over. It’s the lack of rise in the vocal delivery that makes everything feel so isolated and miserable. It becomes chant-like when Elena laments “he better make me better” over and over. Lyrics and lyrical delivery are a stand out on the album. “Doing the Right Thing” brings some lightness to the affair as the guitars are given more air and space to breathe. Daughters production always feels like everything is brushing your face like soft butter punches and this is one of the best examples of it. It floats, plunges and showcases what all three members bring to the band with perfection.

“How” is a close hook back to the first album with strong hooks and a more streamlined track. There’s a sense throughout the album that Daughter as a unit have created these epic pieces and this to me feels like the enticement in for those wandering along the more mainstream rock. The guitar riff is euphoric and awesome too. “Mother” is the example of the epic track. It’s organs and drum treatments really work a treat in building an atmosphere that reaches its climax in an emotional way in the final two minutes where the track becomes an instrumental post rock track – shoegaze style of course! It’s a work of art and effects you deep down. “Alone / With you” is a track that’s sucked inside out as Elena lists off all this things she hates doing with you. The instruments are all backwards or treated in a way that makes them feel alien and it perfectly expresses her words in a sonic form. It’s my personal favourite on the album.

“No Care” is the speed track of the album as the drum sticks tap out a smashing rhythm for us to shout along that we have no cares in the world. The track itself is quite circular and you can really get into a trance listening to it. “To Belong” also gets its rock on too with some heavy hooks and fully rounded grungy tones. The guitar work is sublime and even though its packing punches, it still has that Daughter soft kiss to it. “Fossa” is a six minute epic and feels more like trancegaze with its speed and ethereal vibes it gives with some pretty keyboard samples warping in and out over the guitars and drums. It’s a beautiful end where they are just all jamming their hearts out into a blaze of sound. “Made of Stone” then ends the album is a soft hushed manner.

Whilst there is nothing quite as immediate and straight forward as say Human on this album, its a far more emotive and invested affair. This is about long seated and deep desires and it requires you to lose yourself entirely to it. If you can do that, you’ll be experiencing one of the best albums this year. Astounding.


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