Dark, slow and melancholic, Daughter’s second album, Not To Disappear certainly follows in the footsteps of their first album ‘If You Leave’ by addressing deep and harrowing personal issues such as loneliness, alienation, the emotional destabilisation that follows destructive life events and depression. This album is chilled out and slow enough for background music while studying, but also devastating enough to bask in during your hangover, your existential crisis or your breakup.
The English indie folk band that formed in 2010 stated that they wanted their second album to be ‘more extreme’ than their first, which indicates their objective to evoke more extreme emotion in their listeners. It’s nice to hear a varied album that isn’t solidly sad or happy, but Daughter have always been established as a moody and contemplative band with tracks that could be inserted at any point into the Twilight soundtrack. Their previous album seemed to aim at soothing young heartbroken girls, but Not to Disappear aims for a more mature audience.
“Not to Disappear aims for a more mature audience”
The album can be easily dismissed as depressing. Fair enough, the album is depressing, but some songs, such as ‘To Belong’ and ‘Fossa’ go beyond this presumption by sounding far different to the rest of the album’s hopelessly woeful, twinkling rhythms. In fact, they resonate more with more warming and energetic genres.
Not to Disappear has the same soft yet cold echoing eeriness throughout most of the album, and a slow mounting tempo for each track. Nevertheless, instead of making you feel sad or relaxed like most slow songs, the album seems to put you in a dark place by presenting strong, bitter emotions by alluding to moments of despair in the lyrics. For example, the single track ‘Doing the Right Thing’ concerns the isolation and bewilderment of dementia and the effects it has on the family. It seems the band knows how to depress effectively using real world issues, as the music video directly summons up the universal pity towards lonely elderly people with a pensive soundtrack. Not to Disappear then, is not for flippant listening.
The LP’s weakness is often its lyrics though. My personal favourite, the lullaby-like ‘Mothers’ has the nonsensical line ‘you will need to grow, all you need to grow inside my spine’ when alluding to the idea of postnatal depression or the death of a mother, which tells that the band concerns themselves less with lyrics and more with sound and voice. This can be overlooked though, as the mellow rhythm of the album mixes perfectly with singer Elena Tonra’s crooning yet tearful voice. ‘New Waves’ seems to be made up of a list of short announcements of feelings and desires, which ultimately mean nothing. Maybe Daughter aims to get the message across of the confusion of emotional turmoil and the feelings of meaninglessness in life. With this is mind, Daughter’s new album isn’t for the perpetually happy or even the most optimistic people. It is for those who wish to seek comfort, or even those who want to get to sleep easier with the help of the soft and quiet rhythmic sounds and Tonra’s whisper-like vocals.
Emily is currently listening to ‘Queen Bitch’ by David Bowie