London Grammar – the electric mix of Hannah Reid’s stunning vocals, Dan Rothman’s guitar and Dot Major’s work produces a stunning debut album full of songs which deliver every time. Many albums have 1 or 2 stand out tracks, with ‘If You Wait’ it’s difficult to pick out any as each time a song finishes a new one takes your breath away.
I first heard of London Grammar by accident through a YouTube comment, purely out curiosity I listened to ‘Hey Now’ and I was instantly hooked, Hannah’s voice is hauntingly beautiful with a rich depth few people possess in their voices’; it carries you on a journey and The xx-esque electronic elements just enhance London Grammar’s songs further, still keeping their sound individual. ‘Hey Now’ was accompanied but ‘Metal & Dust’ and ‘Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me’ on the ‘Metal & Dust’ EP, this was a solid start by the trio, giving us a taste of what was to come in the future.
I looked forward to the arrival of ‘If You Wait’ on 9th September and wasn’t disappointed. Starting with ‘Hey Now’ was a great move, drawing in the listener, leaving them wanting to hear more and cementing the band’s sound. Carrying on with ‘Stay Away’ and ‘Shyer’ we then hit more brilliant songs in ‘Wasting My Young Years’, ‘Sights’ and ‘Strong’ all carrying powerful messages in their lyrics and hypnotic melodies – ‘Wasting My Young Years’ is a prime example. The simple electronics build with the addition of a drum beat which then is layered with the beautiful vocals; Hannah’s voice is so clear and crisp, you hear every word making you soak up every ounce of emotion she employs on reaching the powerful chorus, making it my favourite song on the album. But this is what this band is all about, they want you to hear the lyrics, relate to the words, work out the meaning, even find your own meaning – it’s not only their musical ability which is first rate but their ability to relate to the audience too.
A few songs later we reach ‘Interlude (Live)’, a simple piano, guitar and vocal piece which is effortlessly beautiful, all focus is placed on the vocals once again, nothing to disguise the voice, just the instruments to complement it. Piano complements the next songs of ‘If You Wait’ and ‘Help’ which is when we reach the collaboration with Disclosure called ‘Help Me Lose My Mind’, a step away from the general feeling of the album but not unwelcome, it’s heavier beat is thanks to Disclosure’s work on the track but still the vocals shine through.
We end the album with ‘When We Were Young’ this is another step away from the almost choral sound of the the first few tracks, continuing the heavier beat of before we get something funkier and not as heavy, the perfect way to end. London Grammar sum up my feelings towards this album in their song title ‘Strong’, the album is cohesive and shows a strong talent and distinctive sound which is a welcome change to much of the music around today.