Daughter - Music from Before the Storm

by Jim Harris Rating:9 Release Date:2017-09-15

So, I was passing through the house a couple years back with a teenage musician, an English Professor, myself, and another teenager who is an audiofile. Usually, there are as many as four different Spotifys or Pandoras going in separate places.  I paused through one as something quite beautiful caught my attention. The Pandora screen said it was a Chvchs channel and that the artist was Daughter.  I asked my own daughter about them.  Offhandedly, she said, “Probably the best of the lot.”

Yes, Daughter is the best of the lot of these bands fronted by a moody-voiced female lead singer that plays atmospheric alt-folk/electronica.  Having only been around since 2010 and fronted by Elena Tonra, a North Londoner and the architect of the dark songs that range from teenage angst through explorations of Alzheimer's. Along with a Swiss-born guitarist and a drummer from France, they have put together a powerful and memorable body of work since forming in 2010. No big surprise they are on the 4AD label, where this type of quality and aesthetic is so prevalent. Elena has been criticized for her dark lyrics and song structures, but it's unwarranted. Dark is good when played as well as Daughter play it.

Music From Before the Storm is their third album and contracted as a soundtrack to a video game (Life is Strange, Beneath the Storm) about an angsty sixteen year-old girl and her classmate.  It's perfect for the kind of music Elena Tonra constructs.  While there are thirteen tracks, most of them are instrumental as soundtracks usually are when they need to provide background to the visuals. I was no less excited however, even though it was a soundtrack and a soundtrack to a video game!

While the opening track ‘Glass’ had me a bit worried as it starts out sounding Sigor-Rus, the band who seem to only make soundtrack albums of the Iceland landscape. But then some drums kick in, and then Elena’s gorgeous voice, and on it goes. And Elena returns, singing dark, brooding lyrics amidst the phenomenal song structure of the second track ‘Burn it Down,' setting the tone for the rest of the album. Elena Tonra has a captivating, beautiful voice, and all three of the bandmates create wonderful soundscapes that would be perfect on any soundtrack. 

I don’t suppose anyone is turned off by a quality band making a soundtrack to a video game; it is the 21st Century after all, and if you are a fan, as my daughter and I are of their two previous albums, Music From Before the Storm will not disappoint.  While it appears fans of such bands as Broods and Chvrchs seem to gravitate to Daughter, as my own daughter has done, this band more than lives up the to standards 4AD set for consistently signing such compelling and brilliant acts.

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