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In Review London Grammars If You Wait

19th September 2013 | Posted in Music

Slick, remorseful and full of soul, If You Wait is everything a debut album should not be: insatiable, elegant and mature beyond its years.

The first album to be released by London Grammar, a London based Indie trio comprising of University friends Dot Major, Dan Rothman and Hannah Reid, If You Wait is a towering record of pure prominence, that is a far cry from the often jumbled and confused band representation that most debut albums convey.

Following the release of their first EP, Metal & Dust, back in February, the lovable trendy trio became the buzz word of the music industry. With a sound that fused The XX with a much strong vocal presence, thanks to the ear grabbing vocals of Hannah Reid, it was every London Grammar fan's nightmare to think of them crumbling under the pressure of so much adulation so early on.

Thankfully, unlike so many other young bands that show early promise, London Grammar have shown that they're worth more than a few well versed EP's, with the recent release of If You Wait. A swirling, jolting, often spine tingling and purely inspiring album, that manages to blend the very best of chilled out, relaxing beats, and strong indie rifts, using a hedonistic blend of electronic mixing.

With an artistically indie vibe thanks to the emotionally potent blend of keys and strings, the vocals behind each track, provided the immensely talented Hannah Reid, are verging on harrowing. With a ghostly, yet powerful tone, her voice only adds to the brooding, silky smooth sound that this record carries.

Opening up with Hey Now, the starting track is a brilliant summary of what's to come. Echoing lyrics that truly represent the classy vocals on the entire album, as well as a slowly pulsing, synthesized plucking guitar chord, make this track memorable throughout the entire listening experience.

Night Call is a true track of design elegance. A cover of Kavinsky's original, which featured in the cult classic film 'Drive', London Grammar have stripped the track of its pumping 80's vibe, and replaced it with gentle piano keys and their typically sublime vocals, before climaxing the song in a dizzying concoction of a pumping beat and thrashing cymbals.

Perhaps the most gentle track on the album, 'Interlude' is taken from a live recording- a true sign of an artist's talent. With a gentle piano keyed backing, tamely loved up lyrics are doused with the quietest of brushed drum rhythms, proving to create a truly hypnotic track that seemingly pulls you in to a lullaby, before pushing you straight back out with an ending that showcases Hannah Reid's immense vocal range.

It is the title track that brings about the comparison with The XX. The seemingly trendy blend of patchy philosophizing lyrics "Can you give me everything, because I can't give you anything", and a backing track that builds with incredibly mature patience before introducing a symphony of strings to an already captivating piano led tune, is quite simply perfect. If the lyrics don't draw you in, the music will.

Twinkling keys and divine lyrics with superior delivery continue with tracks Help and Maybe, but it is their most recent track, Strong, that seriously shows off their seemingly endless ability to marry low level electronica with indie chic, and the pure classy love affair the band have with piano keys.

For something more upbeat, dive in to High Life. Whilst being a touch more exciting, the track still keeps the swirling mix of moody, swinging lyrics, whilst giving a funky feel with a brilliantly melodic rhythm.

Despite all the comparisons made between London Grammar, and the host of bands that are out there trying to achieve a similar sort of sound, it has to be noted that there is simply no one else doing it quite as well. They're surrounded in expectation and shrouded in praise, yet the entirety of If You Wait suggests that they've simply decided to continue to do what they do best, and not pander to adulation that Metal & Dust left them reveling in.

You'll not find a more complete album out there, and we struggle to remember one since The XX dropped their debut, that can hold a candle to the sheer brilliance that this album has presented. A joy to listen to, with a range that is unrivaled, and a smooth, emotionally diverse slick sound that carries more clout than most, If You Wait is a revolutionary masterpiece.

Ryan J Gray

 

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