On Record – Daughter: Stereo Mind Game (4AD)

by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

Daughter have something of a cult following, and it’s easy to see why. They have the ability to build strong connections with their listeners, through subtle music that can often be interpreted as downward looking but actually turns out to have a positive undercurrent beneath.

Their last album, Not To Disappear, was perhaps too dark especially given its January release in 2016, but seven years on from that the group have released a couple of strong singles with their collective eye firmly on the long playing game.

What’s the music like?

Both elegant and profound. Where Not To Disappear carried a weathered expression, Stereo Mind Games looks upward with more kinetic energy, alternating between urgent thoughts and slow tracks acting as a musical comfort blanket. There is a really pleasing contrast of light and shade, and their songs have an attractive poise this time around.

Be On Your Way is a standout song that hits home a few listens in, flickering with promise for the future while telling the first part of a story to be continued. Dandelion has a crisp urgency that is the ideal foil for the vocal, while Neptune gives the voice free reign, climbing up to emotional heights thanks to Elena Tonra‘s input as a breathy but meaningful vocalist. Swim Back makes a lasting impression, its driving bassline and swirling production complemented by strong vocals and enigmatic lyrics.

Tonra’s voice dominates proceedings, but in the intervening years it has become a more versatile instrument, operating in slightly glacial tones but also capable a more direct approach.

Does it all work?

Yes, it does – because Daughter reach their listeners with subtle, elegant songs and few frills.

Is it recommended?

It is. Give it a few listens and Stereo Mind Game will set up its own corner in your head.



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