Review Summary: A carefully controlled onslaught of sonic depravity4 of 4 thought this review was well written
Following the same loose template as their second release, Hell Songs
, Daughters released their self-titled third effort four years later in 2010. During those four years, a change appears to have occurred within the music, in particular the songwriting itself. This change could very justifiably be called 'maturity'. Such genres as grind, noise punk and mathcore toe a fine line; of course, music as an artistic medium is entirely subjective from person to person, but there is a distinct difference between maintaining intelligent and complex musical traits, and creating an indecipherable wall of sound. In both their debut and second releases, Daughters managed to methodically straddle these two camps. In their self-titled, however, they sit very comfortably in the former. There are listeners who will be turned off by this change, but ultimately, they appear to have found their niche: it’s not really that drastic a change, but it definitely shows a more refined sound by the band.
Technically, the music is as impressive as it was on the first album. Songs such as energetic album opener ‘The Virgin’ and the sensory assault ‘Our Queens (One Is Many, Many Are One)’ utilize a scratchy pick scraping technique that complement the coarse sound rather than feeling like unnecessary additions, and resultantly become one of the most memorable aspects of the album. In the latter, this method is used to create the effect of the song reversing, alternately employed with downtuned chords to create a dark and unpredictable sound. Elsewhere on the album, the songs ‘The First Supper’ and ‘The Dead Singer’ exhibit a more indie-rock influenced sound, with simpler chord structures and rhythms. There are still complexities and subtleties to the sound are still present, most notably in the latter song, which features a plodding but energetic pace, and reconciles jarringly, yet melodically with the hoarse yelping of lead singer Alexis S.F. Marshall. Perhaps the most memorable song of the album is fourth track ‘The Theatre Goer’, which is also one of the simplest. Halting the music intermittently save for a repeated guitar riff in the background, Marshall bawls out angst-ridden, throaty verses, personified by such bizarre and disturbing sentiments as, ‘six million jaws hit the theatre floor/ I rest my hand on something wet and warm’.
For the most part, the album flows smoothly and the sound is consistently vicious and brazen. There are, unfortunately, some issues on the final tracks of the album, most notably on ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’. Interestingly, however, the song itself is not bad; it’s just somewhat peculiar that given their evolution between their debut and this effort, they decided to revert back to their previous style for no more than one song. It’s somewhat telling that such a subtle changes to a band’s sound can alter the final listening experience so drastically, but because of this, the song feels out of place, sticking out like a sore thumb, tarnishing the expression of the other songs.
All of the aggression that made Hell Songs
so memorable has been retained, but where it is showcased here it is more controlled, creating a sense of organized chaos that may feel abrasive, but is always lucid and interesting to listen to. Much like the style of the individual songs, the album demonstrations a wildly varied aural assault, some tracks displaying minimalist approach, others showing a complex, aggressive assault on the senses. Much like their second release, there is a perverse beauty to the songs, except this time the sound is more polished and shows and much clearer vision of the confused and hysterical sound the band laid the groundwork for in their earlier release.