London Grammar
If You Wait


4.0
excellent

Review

by VisionsFromTheDarkSide USER (21 Reviews)
October 28th, 2013 | 20 replies | 2,655 views


Release Date: 09/09/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Maybe I'm wasting my young years..."

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

The mainstream-hype-machine often produces so many clichéd and unoriginal artists and bands that one tends to lose faith in contemporary music as a whole. This year has seen acts such as Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, Calvin Harris and Icona Pop (amongst many others) perhaps undeservedly take a lot of the limelight, blurring the lines between what is genuine talent and what is just a desperate attempt at reaching colossal levels of stardom. So it is no surprise that Nottingham-based band London Grammar have not quite matched their mainstream counterparts, commercially speaking.
Critically speaking though, their debut album ‘If You Wait’ has been a hit, and from the start, it is evident to see why this album is getting a substantial amount of hype. A unique album, at least within mainstream boundaries, London Grammar are best described as a concoction of the relaxed percussion of Portishead, the dark and brooding atmosphere of Lana Del Ray and the beautifully strong vocals of Florence and the Machine.

In fact, it is these vocals that perhaps make If You Wait what it is. Vocalist Hannah Reid laments about subjects such as past relationships, troubled teenage years, and perhaps trying to grow up too quickly. Although singing about such matters has become fairly standard, perhaps to the point of stagnation, Reid’s wide range and overall-strong vocals make such musings seem genuine. She makes sure the listener can feel her pain. She makes sure that the listener can empathise with her.
The lyrics themselves are very mature for a girl of such youth, and avoid being clichéd, despite the naturally clichéd nature of the subject itself. For example, from the song ‘Wasting My Young Years’:

“You crossed this line,
Do you find it hard to sit with me tonight?
I've walked these miles but I've walked 'em straight-lined,
You'll never know what was like to be fine…”
The lyrics seem to represent a young lady who is looking back with sorrow at a past-relationship, and such relateable and harrowing lamentations are dealt with in a mature and almost poetic manner.

Instrumentally, the album seems to draw inspiration from trip-hop acts such as Portishead and Massive Attack, which is perhaps most obviously seen in the song ‘Stay Awake’. Percussion is simple and relaxed, used to create a laid-back beat, while keyboards are used to create ethereal and often minimalistic soundscapes. Guitars and pianos are also used sparingly to add a dream-like atmosphere, and blend perfectly with Reid’s haunting vocals. The atmosphere can also tend to be dark and brooding, such as in the song ‘Hey Now’ (which, incidentally, happens to have one of Reid’s best vocal performances).
Perhaps a weak point of If You Wait is that it is not a solidly consistent album, tending to perhaps stray away from the quality shown in the first half of the album. In particular, songs such as ‘Metal and Dust’ and ‘Flickers’ almost scream ‘filler’ at the listener, and seem to ruin the momentum of the record. Without these tracks (and possibly a few others), this album could quite simply have been so much more concise and consistent.

Despite this though, If You Wait is beautiful in every sense of the word. Sonically ethereal, emotionally draining and lyrically harrowing, this young band brings something new to the table. Forget superficial and shallow lyrics about drugs, sex and partying. Forget a heavy overuse of synthesisers and excess amounts of bass drops. London Grammar are not about that. Instead, they have chosen to release a genuine and candid record in If You Wait, bringing a fresh approach to contemporary music in general, which should set them up for a long and illustrious career.



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user ratings (43)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
VisionsFromTheDarkSide
October 28th 2013



1686 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fuck my laptop and its reluctance to make html codes work

Digging: Sport - Bon Voyage

Willie
Moderator
October 28th 2013



15778 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This was good. Nothing too exciting, though.

Digging: Teramaze - Esoteric Symbolism

VisionsFromTheDarkSide
October 28th 2013



1686 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That's what I thought at first to be honest, but it has grown on me a lot

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2013



3030 Comments


ooh, will check. love their feature on disclosure's album

will read review soon but right off the bat that's a pretty massive quote considering the review is
only 5 short paragraphs long. might want to chop about half of it off

Digging: Todd Terje - It's Album Time

VisionsFromTheDarkSide
October 28th 2013



1686 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the advice man, I'll look at it and decide what to do

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
October 28th 2013



7255 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hmmm. These guys are being hyped to high heaven but I'm not really seeing the fuss to be honest. It's pleasant enough but I can't really see myself coming to enjoy it any more than that.

VisionsFromTheDarkSide
October 28th 2013



1686 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah they certainly are but damn I love her voice

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
October 28th 2013



20250 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

have had Strong on repeat for two days

Digging: YG - My Krazy Life

Malenchanted
October 28th 2013



2228 Comments


chick was good on that Disclosure track. will check

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2013



20830 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

'If You Wait', the debut LP from English trio London Grammar, is a captivating album that stops you in your tracks. Predominantly down-tempo, the masterfully restrained sparse instrumentation is well-layered & has a knack for melody that not only enhances accessibility, but also replay value. This provides a fitting back-drop for the timeless, sophisticated & spine-tingling vocals of 23 year old Hannah Reid, whose range is as adept at tackling lows as it is highs. As cohesive as it is consistent, this engaging LP not only promises future greatness & influence, but is a tremendous listen itself. Recommended Tracks: Metal & Dust, Hey Now, Wasting My Young Years & Strong.

garth
October 28th 2013



91 Comments


I don't love her voice.
Their cover of Nightcall is amazing though.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
October 28th 2013



3752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah I really like this. Gonna see 'em live next year, can't wait :D

Digging: Labyrinth Ear - The Orchid Room

brandontaylor
October 28th 2013



76 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Singer has a fantastic voice, but the album overall bored me. Will listen a few more times though before I make my mind up on it.

RadicalEd
November 14th 2013



2438 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sounds like the XX back when they didn't suck.

tommygun
November 25th 2013



21345 Comments


sucks

RadicalEd
December 14th 2013



2438 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Strong is a very good song. But the album pales in comparison. Not bad. Not really good... 2.5 + Strong = 3.0. Singer is very talented.

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
December 19th 2013



20250 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

late night essay writing jams

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
December 29th 2013



20250 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

really digging this lately

Emyay
February 26th 2014



4691 Comments


title track sounds like adele or something. not really feeling this

Digging: Twelve Foot Ninja - Silent Machine

marcosmce
April 15th 2014



52 Comments


Just watched their live performance at KEXP and wow what a talent.
doesn't really matter that it sounds like adele or florence welch (it does only superficially), this girl brings something different to the table.
sweet review.

Digging: Wild Beasts - Limbo, Panto



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