Tuesday, September 10th, 2013
Metal & Dust
Review of London Grammar’s If You Wait
Paolo ZerbiniI’m sure it’s purely coincidence, but it’s a hell of one that the title of If You Wait, the 2013 debut from London Grammar, is but one word apart from If You Leave, the 2013 debut Daughter. After all, both are London-based, female-fronted three-pieces with atmospheric aesthetics, singular vocal signatures, and who plumb the depths of the heart’s frailties for lyrical inspiration.
But while they occupy a similar space, London Grammar stake out their own territory. A ways away from Elena Tonra’s wistful sigh of a voice, Hannah Reid’s rich, husky alto is clearly a powerful instrument akin to Florence Welch’s but rather than use it to blow the doors off, she keeps it set on a deep and steady soul-infused smoulder that expresses her wounded sentiments in rich tones. The musical accompaniment, built largely around guitar and piano, is sparse by default but more than able to swell for effect and works well in adding to the twilight ambience. One does wish that Dan Rothman’s lines and style – palm-muted and echoed – was a little less xx-marks-the-spot, but there’s no arguing its effectiveness in this context.
If there’s a complaint to be made about If You Wait, it’s in that the London Grammar aesthetic is a little too defined and consistently applied and over the course of the record starts feeling a bit monochromatic. It feels like a photograph of something beautiful, viewable from a single angle, than a living, breathing thing – more than acceptable for now, but a limitation they’ll have to transcend sooner rather than later.
NME reports that If You Wait is presently the odds-on favourite to win the Mercury Prize, the shortlist of which will be announced tomorrow and whose winner will be announced October 30. The West Australian and The Guardian have feature pieces on London Grammar and The Line Of Best Fit has a video of their covering La Roux for BBC’s Live Lounge. If You Wait is out today, September 10, and their inaugural North American tour brings them to Toronto for a show at The Great Hall on October 4.
Stream: Summer Camp / Summer Camp
Peter Hook updates The Hollywood Reporter on the attempts to take possession of those Joy Division/New Order master tapes rescued from the trash recently. And as you can assume from the word “attempts”, they’re not going well. Hook plays The Hoxton on September 18.
Stream: Laura Groves – “Pale Shadows”
Yuck has released an in-studio video of them getting their New Order on; their second album Glow & Behold comes out September 30.
Video: Yuck – “Age Of Consent”
Video: Polly Scattergood – “Cocoon”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Evil Eye”
Though still coy about details of a new album, The High Wire have made another new song available to download.
Video: Little Boots – “Satellite”
The Wedding Present are streaming a new single which will be available for sale as a 7″ on their upcoming UK tour.
NPR marks the 20th anniversary of Britpop with a playlist of the scene’s best.