Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Daughter – Still

Don’t call me…


Ian Mathers: It feels like both modes here (spectral late-night atmospherics and a gently Cocteau Twins-like dreamy overlay during the chorus) are a bit post-the xx, but the emotional range here is a bit different. There doesn’t sound like there’s any possibility of reconciliation here and the surprisingly warm sensuality of songs like “VCR” or “Islands” is replaced by a different something else; here, their vision is blurring because of the tears.

Iain Mew: Brits may be familiar with Daughter’s music through the use of instrumental bits of the “Youth” on TV ads that turned the Tour de France haunting. “Still” is as gorgeously arranged as that was, and successfully adds musical force through clouds of feedback (alongside a particular rattle of drums that will always say “Here With Me” to me). Elena Tonra and her words are its key element though, homing in on a tight succession of physical bodily details to vividly illuminate the emotions lurking. The song has a killer meta sudden ending with the words “leaves nowhere to go”, too.

Edward Okulicz: The drum machine kicking in after more organic pitter-patter in the verses is a great fake-out moment, and really grabs the attention. Elena Tonra’s voice is more than good enough to hold onto it — she’s earthy, honest and likeable, and writes strongly enough that she doesn’t have to resort to Florence-esque orchestrations to sell her point (she’s on 4AD, please note). I’m still unsure as to whether getting four minutes in and then ending just as it seems the song is about to climax is masterful or inefficient, but it guarantees replay value.

Anthony Easton: I like when how a thing sounds and what a thing says matches — “Still” tumbles when Elena Tonra sings “spiral,” or how the way she emphasises “wolf hound” suggests exactly that. Some interesting atmospheric noise, but it could stand to be a bit more aggressive. Perhaps it’s not quite committed to the full weirdness.

Brad Shoup: Cat Power would probably approach solvency if she could lay claim to some of the songwriting on tracks like this.

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: With the introductory concrete musique recording of someone opening their home’s front door, “Still” evokes a sense of entering an emotionally fragile place – and that’s before the spare vocal/guitar combo chimes in. The song slowly pulsates, building up layers of guitar delay and programmed drums into an atmospheric piece that recalls the unease of Things We Lost in the Fire-era Low. But it feels like atmosphere for the sake of atmosphere. While the emotional pulses claw at you, the song can’t, dried out from its own catharsis.

Jonathan Bogart: The ghostly, powerful (but it’s power in abeyance, used more for precision than pummelling) voice over a turbid squall reminds me of something, but I’m not sure what. Maybe it’s that it reminds me of everything.

Alfred Soto: The Joy Formidable have done better with these percolating dynamics — even better with the animal metaphors.

Reader average: [7.8] (5 votes)

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