DaughterHarvest Sun @ 02 Academy 25/1/16
It’s a cold January night when London trio DAUGHTER rock up at the O2 Academy, a completely different setting to their last experience of the city (in performance terms at least) in 2013. The backdrop then was the majestic Anglican Cathedral and a hymnal, heavenly performance of debut album If You Leave. The crowd gathering outside the venue tonight shows an audience that’s more varied in age groups than last time, with some parents evidently joining their 20-something-year old kids for the show.
In 2013 Daughter steered us into the delicate, fragile world of Elena Tonra’s melancholy poetry, but tonight it’s the turn of new album Not To Disappear is the new album, which marks some low-key changes to Daughter’s trademark sound. The album, recorded in New York last year, hasn’t brightened the band’s outlook on life either: an icy kind of misery is what Daughter do best and that cold sound whips through the set.
Beginning with How from the new album, the band pick up from where they left off: Igor Haefeli’s guitar melodies are smooth and Tonra’s lyrics are resolutely downcast. If You Leave has evolved slightly, but not too far from the band’s familiar sound: the feelings of loss, loathing and loneliness in Tonra’s delivery are a constant deliberation throughout. And she isn’t one to shy away from heavy themes, which many of their fans find cathartic. Alone/Without You speaks of the isolation that you can feel in a relationship when you detest your partner’s company as much as your own, and Doing The Right Thing looks at memory loss as a subject. The song is written about the fear of Alzheimer’s, seen through the eyes of Tonras grandmother, who suffers from the disease, which many in tonight’s crowd seem to relate to personally.
No Care is the high point of the night, with its attitude and charisma sparking the crowd into a bouncing mass, but it’s not a lasting feeling. Daughter are probably not everybody’s cup of tea, perhaps best digested by listening to a whole album in one sitting. Musically, the band are fearsomely talented, but a change of tempo or sound direction could really open up their appeal. Too many of the tracks follow the same tone and riffs, which admittedly, are what they’ve become known for. Ending on Made Of Stone, the crowd seem contented as they leave the venue, satisfied but not overly excited.
Mike Sheerin / @sheero1