Daughter – If You Leave

written by: March 21, 2013
Album-art-for-If-You-Leave-by-Daughter Release Date:


On If You Leave, the debut album by London-based trio Daughter, vocalist Elena Tonra sings of setting her bones on the road, swimming with the fishes, and being dead behind the eyes.

“I was thinking that I should see someone/just to find out I’m alright,” Tonra intones on the second to last track, “Amsterdam.”

On If You Leave, Tonra and her band mates are in love with their own sadness, and they’ve created a monochromatic collection of ghostly songs focused on unrequited love, anger, and loss to prove it.

Guitars sway and drums bob and weave through the songs. The tempo plods along, and the lyrics teeter from self-loathing (“Setting fire to our insides for fun,”) to macabre imagery (“When the sun comes out, we’ll be nothing but dust.”)

It all starts with Tonra, who casts herself as a forlorn character on the album’s narratives. She possesses an achingly beautiful voice, much like Beth Orton, but she carries on with a bruised romanticism that stumbles into wallowing.

“I’m flooding out and more I’m too washed out to see/drifting away this time/you’ll regret you’ve conceived it,” Tonra sings over atmospheric guitar noodling on “Lifeforms.”

The song is in step with Daughter’s well-received EPs, His Young Heart and The Wild Youth. Those collections are melancholic to the core, but unlike If You Leave, the band at least flavored the music with hints of keyboards and varied percussive rhythms.

That’s the issue with this album. The songs, while cathartic for Tonra, are simply monotonous for most—outside of the album’s best track, “Human,” which rises with driving acoustic guitars and D.J. Fontana-style drumming.

When Tonra sings, “Despite everything I’m still human/but I think I’m dying here,” you hope she finds some solace in time for the second album.

Daughter – If You Leave tracklist:

  1. “Winter”
  2. “Smother”
  3. “Youth”
  4. “Still”
  5. “Lifeforms”
  6. “Tommorrow”
  7. “Human”
  8. “Touch”
  9. “Amsterdam”
  10. “Shallows”