Daughter’s ‘Not To Disappear’ falls short of expectations

Daughter’s ‘Not To Disappear’ falls short of expectations

English indie folk band Daughter is best known for their atmospheric instrumentals and lead singer Elena Tonra’s hushed delivery of sorrowful lyrics, all meshed together in a music style that demands reverence, and maybe a few tears.

The trio’s sophomore album, Not To Disappear, released Friday, Jan. 15 via 4AD Records, upholds this reputation maybe a little too much. Daughter has always had an intriguing stillness to their work, like a somber, ethereal Florence + the Machine. However, what made their debut album, If You Leave, so poignant now leaves us with the question all Daughter listeners have but are too guilty to admit: Will this girl ever be happy?

One good thing to come out of this record is the music video for their promotional single “Doing the Right Thing” on the devastating effects of dementia, released Sept. 30 as part of a collaboration with filmmakers Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard. This cinematic addition to their repertoire is becoming of a band gaining public recognition, and the video matches the depth of the track’s storytelling.

As for the actual music, the majority of Daughter’s songs fall into the trap of sounding the same. Lyric deliveries and riffs similar to songs off of their previous works can be heard throughout the album. Track nine, “Fossa,” declares, “I don’t owe you much/But I miss you such/I’m missing you,” a bit too close in semblance to the infamously bitter lyrics from “Landfill” off of their first EP, His Young Heart, “I want you so much/But I hate your guts/I hate you.”

What little attempts they make to branch out, however, are confusing at best. The strangely upbeat “No Care” seems to be the group’s haphazard response to criticisms that their music is too slow. It’s nice to see Daughter try something other than their signature combo of suffocating vocals and airy instrumentals, but more qualitative development is to be expected from future projects.

Despite the missed efforts at musical diversification, the album is still satisfactory by normal standards. The group set themselves up for high expectations for new and exciting material within the indie community after the successful release of their debut album, If You Leave. Though saying it feels like disowning one’s own daughter, these expectations simply weren’t met in this record.

Not to Disappear is available on Spotify and iTunes. Upcoming tour dates announced via Daughter’s website.