London Grammar
Truth is a Beautiful Thing


4.0
excellent

Review

by verdant CONTRIBUTOR (68 Reviews)
June 9th, 2017 | 31 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: an entire string section to help numb the pain, please

For a record titled The Truth is a Beautiful Thing, the latest from London Grammar rides in on a series of truths that are decidedly unbeautiful. “I’m so scared of loneliness with you”, Hannah Reid admits from the outset; establishing the stakes as she floats over the top of minimal instrumentation in Rooting for You. As a collective, the band handles all those ugly truths carefully. These songs wrap them up with neat little bows as if they could be souvenirs perched on the mantelpiece. With enough distance, they’ll probably become mementos – reminders of formative events, mistakes, lessons learned.

Reid’s vocals are a constantly rising thing, somewhere between bravado and complete vulnerability. She sings with a melancholic hindsight throughout this album, qualifying everything in the context of a slow-motion montage of flashbacks. Her lilt is this bleeding heart of a sound, and Truth -- for the most part -- is an album of hollowed, wistful instrumentals; creating open spaces just to fill them with the soulful timbres of Reid’s voice. Of course, this is the dynamic that London Grammar have danced with ever since Hey Now became the unassuming pillar of indie pop that it is, but the music is less subordinate here, more willing to leave the shadows and work alongside the headstrong melodies.

It begins quickly, too. Big Picture stretches itself out across the night sky with a rolling drumbeat that is actually there, and not just pretending to be. Wild Eyed does the same because there is genuinely always something shuffling its feet in the background – an actual support network buried beneath the dreamy piano progression. In Oh Woman, Oh Man, the chorus opens up into a choral chamber, and London Grammar sound bigger than they have before. And so on and so forth.

Another dichotomy: For a band considered ‘dream pop’, London Grammar make startlingly immediate music. After all, Non-Believer could be sitting in the same room as you. It’s an open letter that you can actually read, not an open letter masked by abstract lyrics and interminable amounts of reverb. I think, really, that this is dream pop crafted by people who want to confront their problems rather than sleep through them. “Fair trials don’t exist my friend” sings Reid in Leave That War with Me. And it’s sincere – you have to take matters into your own hands. The music here is a quiet but firm voice of reason, very angel-on-the-shoulder in its unwavering, good-natured support; but also willing to take control like the string section does towards the end of Hell to the Liars.

Hindsight - that beautiful, omniscient thing - confirms that the title is bitter irony spoken as a threat, or at least a promise of karma. It turns out, truth is only a beautiful thing once the wound it’s inflicted has long since healed over and the air encircling a heartbreak is clear to breathe again. The album itself, though" It moves Reid and the band to a more level playing field, emphasising the need for them to work with each other and not around each other. Control carries out Truth is a Beautiful Thing with what sounds like self-defeatism: “And I guess that’s control / it’s knowing your place”. I, however, like to think that lyric is Hannah Reid finally realising that there’s catharsis in the altruism of others. With enough help, perhaps she’ll be able to live how the most content people do: with the past, in the present, and for the future. In the meantime, though, those ugly truths are just waiting to become mementos.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
verdant
Contributing Reviewer
June 9th 2017


1918 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

June has been good for music, friends.

nothing with this woman's voice on it could possibly be mediocre

PistolPete
June 9th 2017


4510 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I love this band so am very excited to hear. First impression though is that it's not as ballsy as the debut, much more subdued. Could be a grower though.



I agree though, this woman's voice is next level.

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
June 9th 2017


1918 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i don't think it's more subdued, the hooks are no where near as strong though



tru, she's an amazing talent

AngryJohnny
June 9th 2017


577 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Shall be checking this later. Her voice is indeed magnificent

Divaman
June 9th 2017


1589 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Not familiar with them, but will check. Sounds right up my alley. Nice job.

Digging: Neil Cavanagh - City of the Sun, Valley of the Moon

FreddieDelaney31
June 9th 2017


3378 Comments


What a great review, pos'd
Slightly interested to check this, I thought their last album showed a lot of potential but was a bit boring

Digging: Blood Cultures - Happy Birthday

DoofusWainwright
Contributing Reviewer
June 9th 2017


17065 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This is mediocre

Lucid
June 9th 2017


8781 Comments


^thanks for confirming doof. always found this band dull so not inclined to check this

Dewinged
June 9th 2017


7010 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really enjoyed some tracks of their debut and that Kavinski cover, agree with you Land, love her voice. Great review too man, have a pos.

Digging: Motorpsycho - The Tower

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
June 9th 2017


1918 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks folks

Brostep
Emeritus
June 9th 2017


4314 Comments


excellent review. love the way you describe their brand of dream pop

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
June 9th 2017


1918 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thank you so much

Dewinged
June 11th 2017


7010 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just finished it and her voice has filled the deepest pipes of my brain.

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
June 12th 2017


1918 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah as i said there's not much that can go horribly wrong when she's on a track ahaha

Dewinged
June 12th 2017


7010 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah man, like the songs are ok, songwriting wise but Hannah is such an amazing singer she makes them sound better than they are.

tommygun
June 12th 2017


26715 Comments


band is super dull agreed

PistolPete
June 12th 2017


4510 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

They will likely never be able to write a chorus that's as powerful to me as "Sights" again. Gawd what a song.

AngryJohnny
June 13th 2017


577 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Much of this really drags unfortunately

manosg
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2017


10644 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7 | Sound Off

Not programmed to like this kind of stuff but this one has really impressed me. Great review as well, pos.

Digging: Legendry - Dungeon Crawler

verdant
Contributing Reviewer
June 18th 2017


1918 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"not programmed" hahaha classic, and thanks!



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