Heartbreak and loss — these are the experiences that remind us, more than anything, that we are human and that we are fragile. Daughter’s debut album revolves around these themes, and it’s definitely not an easy listen. Nevertheless, it remains captivating throughout. This is probably not the album you will be playing while kicking back with friends — it’s the kind that will make someone power through a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and regret not having bought a gallon instead.
“Winter” is appropriately placed as the opening track. It sets the somber tone for If You Leave. Igor Haefeli’s reverberating guitar kicks off the album, Elena Tonra jumps in with her vocals and Remi Aguilella percussion gently enters before all three break out into an anthemic song. Tonra’s aptitude for lyricism becomes instantaneously evident with the first lines, “Drifting apart like two sheets of ice, my love / Frozen hearts growing colder with time.” She establishes herself as a singer-songwriter to watch — the emotional honesty in both her lyrics and especially her voice is haunting.
For fans of their EPs, the withholding of tracks such as “Candles” and “Landfill” may come as a surprise. Furthermore, their biggest hit, “Youth” has been re-recorded. However, these decisions are not hindrances to the complete feeling of the album. After all, most of Daughter’s strength as a band comes from its predilection for restraint. The most poignant moments are the ones in which the blaring guitar dies down, the percussion becomes intermittent and Tonra’s voice is reduced to a whisper, sometimes even complete silence (though the album is not without their moments of all-out energy).
The album is worthwhile for anyone willing to put their heart through a listen. It reminds, relentlessly, that “underneath the skin, there’s a human.” Be prepared for goosebumps and a valid excuse to drink alone.
Contact Ephriam Lee at [email protected].