daughter-540x304– THE RITZ, MANCHESTER –

Daughter – a trio from London are on their first headline tour. Placed arbitrarily in the “Indie rock” camp, they specialise in loud beats and echoey guitars, over which Elena Tonra shares her languid, melancholy vocals. They broke into the industry with a selection of well received EP’s in 2011, leading to their first album release If You Leave in March this year. Comparisons were immediately made with the likes of Laura Marling, Florence and The Machine and The XX. We are at The Ritz but I wish they were playing somewhere a bit more intimate to accommodate their dark atmospheric mood. A sign of success I suppose.

First up is ‘Still’ which is so intense on the drum and guitar reverb you lose her vocals entirely. Already you can tell this sound is right for real life hearing. You are really quite enveloped by volume, atmosphere and those deeply wistful lyrics that willow over the top.

I like her. She’s very cool. I want her haircut.

Next is ‘Amsterdam’ which starts quietly, her soft vocals and reflective lyrics are within earshot this time: “By the morning I would’ve grown back. I’ll escape with him, showing all my skin. Then I’ll go home. Amsterdam. As becomes apparent with many of their songs, they start quietly, gradually building layers of overpowering drum beats and electronic guitar sounds; Elena’s steady vocals holding it together.  The crowd are absolutely silent and motionless, deep in contemplation. Gazes fixed. The band is in semi darkness, with an occasional monotone light that only serves to blind the audience. They seem genuinely humbled to have filled the venue, referring to the last time they were here ‘only’ as a support act.

‘Landfill’ is a fraction more upbeat. The melody is stronger and her vocals are richer and stronger. Although I say upbeat…“I want you so much but I hate your guts.”  The beat angrily increases once more with guitar reverb so loud and intense you can’t help but be stirred by it.

Almost silently and shyly they move from one song to the next. The crowd are awakened momentarily from their focus to cheer1377349_703436549669004_1782932545_n encouragement. As they play ‘Shallows’ and ‘Human’, melancholy washes over us and the walls of sounds continue to fill the room.  I spend a bit more time admiring her haircut and wondering how much sorrow and heartache one girl can take.

‘Smoother’ is a beauty of a heartacher. Daughter’s sound is very claustrophobic and intense and it is echoed in her lyrics here: “In the darkness I will meet my creators, and they will all agree that I’m a suffocator.” Stepping it up further is ‘Youth’, the song that gave them most popularity last year. The crowd are moving now and singing along (I will never approve of this). Although I am enjoying the gig up to this point, this track is a demonstration of why this venue is sold out. Where fragility and beauty are synonymous and they have all the component parts of their sound – ambience, melody, sorrow, drum beats and volume – in perfect balance.

After a lull, they return for an encore with a cover of Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’, a song they rendered almost unrecognisable and divided many. I love it – particularly the contrast between the lyrics and the sound. Even if you find Daughter a little middle of the road or samey, hear them live and you’re in for a treat.

Did I mention I love her haircut?

Daughter  Official | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube