Daughter
Not to Disappear


3.9
excellent

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
January 16th, 2016 | 106 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Nothing stable.

Few bands plumb the darker end of the emotional spectrum as adeptly as Daughter; for all the beauty in Elena Tonra’s voice, hers is an icy one, liable to crystallize into points sharp enough to draw blood rather than lull you into something resembling resolution. There was something to be said, though, for how naked that voice was. 2013’s If You Leave was a wrenching study of heartbreak, despair, and generally all the things that pop music wraps up to sell you in a pretty major-key bow. Though Tonra’s voice is suited for arenas and the band’s lush, grim melodies revealed as many dimensions as their leader, If You Leave was uncompromising and downright punishing, a harder meal to choke down than the bloody shots that were the groups' twin 2011 EPs. Sadness sells, though, and given the personal and professional success Tonra and Daughter have enjoyed over the years, it’s impressive that sophomore effort Not to Disappear rarely relents. First single “Doing The Right Thing” is a devastating portrait of memory loss and a tribute to Tonra’s Alzheimer’s-stricken grandmother outlined by spartan drumming and a solitary guitar melody, and suffice to say that the rest of the record isn’t all sunshine and lollipops.

What makes this a compelling listen in Daughter’s catalogue, however, and a promising sign of growth, is how Not to Disappear sounds much more like a Daughter record instead of an Elena Tonra showcase, however inseparable the two might appear. Opener “New Ways” is a beautifully constructed song, filling in the details of Tonra’s psychological storm with layers of guitar and ominous percussion, an atmosphere that feels as lived in as Tonra’s ethereal vocals. The band emits a confidence that, while not necessarily lacking in prior releases, is much more prevalent in the arrangements here, whether that’s in the frantic rhythms of “Numbers” or the jagged, rippling alt-rock of “No Care,” which tips a respectful hat to Florence and the Machine. “Fossa” is a seven-minute epic that starts off as a fairly rote Daughter dirge and then goes spelunking, carefully exploring its own textures before exploding outward into an extended and cathartic instrumental outro, Tonra’s repeated mantra of “you can be what you want” perhaps a little on the nose but affecting nonetheless. That the band push the song to its noisy conclusion without any help from Tonra at all highlights an optimistic future for the group.

That’s not to say that Daughter don’t know where their bread is buttered: “Mother,” situated knowingly in the middle of the record, is another soft-spoken monument to Tonra’s voice and lyrics that make a more universal struggle as affecting as the relationship surgery that usually inform these songs: “When your face becomes a stranger’s I don’t know / you will never remember who I was to you / carried in the womb.” For all the confessionals that Daughter have penned over the years, few are as touching as this one and “Doing The Right Thing,” largely other point of views given haunting life by Tonra. It’s a small change, but it’s one that allows Daughter to double down on the bruised and burning melancholy that is Daughter’s lifeblood without exhausting it. If anything, Not to Disappear is as bleak and painful as its predecessors, but it balances that with an adventurousness in composition and a clarity in storytelling that makes these reminders of love and loss almost reassuring. Experience may be a cruel messenger, but Daughter’s success comes not from pulling away, but from embracing that. In doing so, Not to Disappear comes out the other side, not beaten and lost but vibrant and alive.



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user ratings (201)
Chart.
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
klap
Staff Reviewer
January 16th 2016


11979 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

"Doing The Right Thing" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bU5F-DvGLkA

Pangea
January 16th 2016


2713 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Need to check

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 16th 2016


28402 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is so good. Every song is brilliant, plus I'm a sucker for personal lyrics strewn across walls of gorgeous atmosphere. I was thinking of reviewing it myself but this hits the nail on the head. Best tracks so far are New Ways, How, and Doing The Right Thing, but something tells me all of these are eventually going to grow on me equally.

Digging: John Nolan - Abendigo

Lord(e)Po)))ts
January 16th 2016


39738 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i liked If You Leave. looking forward to this.



Do you like this or that one better klap?

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 16th 2016


11979 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

this one, although i think the Wild Youth EP is still their best

Lord(e)Po)))ts
January 16th 2016


39738 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

havent heard that but yeah word i will report back with much insight and such agreement

joshcopperman
January 16th 2016


4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Daughter's progression here reminds me of the progression on both Ben Howard and the Staves' (severely underrated) second albums. They've become even bleaker, but their songwriting and production has matured to a new level of craft.



Doing The Right Thing and Fossa are possibly their best songs ever.

BlushfulHippocrene
Contributing Reviewer
January 16th 2016


2612 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"...Elena Tonra showcase, however, inseparable the two might appear." There shouldn't be a comma after the however, right? I love the spelunking description for Fossa.

Digging: Lil Zubin - Heavy Down Pour

mitch91
January 17th 2016


420 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I was pleasantly surprised by how (relatively) different this album is to If You Leave; Fossa reminds me of The National and/or that last Mumford and Sons album (which is a great or terrible thing depending on how elitist you are).

theBoneyKing
January 17th 2016


15511 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This sounds amazing. Awesome review too, klap.

Digging: The Twilight Sad - Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters

AngryJohnny
January 17th 2016


836 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is sounding promising

Sinternet
January 17th 2016


17555 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is absolutely awesome. They were doing a signing session near me today but I completely forgot about it.

Digging: Pool Kids - Music to Practice Safe Sex To

minty901
January 17th 2016


3667 Comments


is this more post-rock than their last album, or less?

BlushfulHippocrene
Contributing Reviewer
January 17th 2016


2612 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think how well the theme of this album is executed is absolutely amazing.



Also, it's been a while since I gave a listen to their last, minty, but I guess this is more post-rock, though I never got that much out of that side of the music. I could be wrong.

zakalwe
January 17th 2016


25929 Comments


This is tops

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 17th 2016


11979 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

thanks blushful u right

Lord(e)Po)))ts
January 17th 2016


39738 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

rudy what u got ur eyes on for upcomin' releases? my 2016 pretty much hasnt even started yet i need to get on it. still catching up on '15

Cryptkeeper
January 17th 2016


1887 Comments


MORE DAUGHTER YES

Digging: Chrch - Unanswered Hymns

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 18th 2016


28402 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

New Ways is just too good. The part where she sings, "I’ve been trying to stay out / But there’s something in you / I can’t be without / I just need it here" makes me melt every time.

AdolfChrist
January 18th 2016


18039 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this is sounding much better than If You Leave. that album was a disappointment.

Digging: Devil Master - Inhabit The Corpse



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