Daughter - If You Leave

Dorky Discoveries: Daughter

I first had the idea to do a Dorky Discoveries column when I was making a playlist for all of the artists I was introduced to in 2013. I called it “2013 Dorky Discoveries” and my original plan was to write a single post covering my favorite found artists from 2013. Then I noticed the mass amounts of Best of 2013 lists floating around the blogosphere between December 1st and the New Year and decided to make it an ongoing column instead.

London trio Daughter have been receiving a fair amount of attention since their full-length debut If You Leave debuted last spring, and although the music snob in me is inclined to play devil’s advocate to glowing Rolling Stone reviews, I have to admit the accolades are well-deserved.

I was praising Daughter in eloquent and self-congratulatory 140-character reviews to a nonexistent audience when I first heard If You Leave. I couldn’t not talk about it. How was everyone else not gushing over this insightful lyricist who came off as some sort of mutant hybrid between The XX and Florence & the Machine?

Formed in 2010, Daughter was at first the solo project of lead singer and songwriter Elena Tonra. She met guitarist and drummer  Igor Haefeli and Remi Aguilella (respectively) while studying at London’s Institute of Contemporary Music Performance. In 2011 the trio released a couple of EPs together, not long afterwards switching labels and signing with 4AD. They released their first full-length album If You Leave in May 2013.

If You Leave is dark and thoughtful and Elena’s vocals have a resounding, haunting quality that really carry the lyrics. I’ll admit I was even tempted to Facebook a few quotes from the album because of their poetic relatability.

Ultimately I deemed them too corny to post without context, but I’ll leave a few for you to ponder on:

I should go now quietly
For my bones have found a place
To lie down and sleep
Where all my layers can become reeds
All my limbs can become trees
All my children can become me
What a mess I leave
To follow.

– “Smother”

To me these lyrics are a beautiful reflection on the cyclical and possibly pointless nature of human existence.

Okay, just one more…

And if you’re still breathing, you’re the lucky ones.
‘Cause most of us are heaving through corrupted lungs.
Setting fire to our insides for fun
Collecting names of the lovers that went wrong
The lovers that went wrong.

– “Youth”

Is that not a perfect summary of how holding onto bitterness and resentment ultimately paralyzes and weakens us? You can watch Daughter’s full music video for “Youth” above.

In summary, if you’re a fan of ambient indie rock and strong female leads, I highly recommend you acquaint yourself with Daughter.

Categories: Reviews