The Daughter formula hasn’t changed so much since 2013’s If You Leave; instead, it’s simply stepped up a few notches. While their debut was full of ambience and natural rock instrumentation, the sophomore follow-up Not to Disappear practically drowns in ambient electronics and echoing instruments at points, while the moody atmosphere rears its head and comes out stronger than ever before.
Right from the start, the album itself stands as a marked improvement. Even its very first track, New Ways, threatens to overwhelm you with a wall of buzzing electronics, serene guitars and an abrasive solo all at the same time. Moving from its simple introduction to a sparkling realm of chaos as it closes, it packs an album’s worth of ideas into one song and manages to make it work. The following track Numbers instead replaces the chaotic wall with an array of guitars and harmonies as its rumbling, constant beat drives it forward, replacing the chaos with a beautifully primal energy. As the defining tracks of the album, they offer a clear insight into what’s in store.
The rest of the album falls into somewhat of a rut; the same basic elements of ambience, folk and rock run throughout the album, albeit with the wall of sound falling to a much less overwhelming state. If any song were to counter the lumbering intensity of the openers, it would be the third highlight, No Care. The song strips itself bare of layering and ethereal reverb, relying on a quickly pulsing beat and raw guitar riffs to drive itself to carry a tighter, more nimble sense of force while solidifying Elena Tonra’s vocal skills against both the bare and overwhelming backdrops.
Even if Not to Disappear features its fair share of tracks that fail to remain afloat in the grand scheme of the album, either due to less stellar ideas or following a similar format slightly too close, the moments where it really hits the mark stand out as truly show stopping moments. It stands not only as a natural continuation from their debut album, but a true improvement, and that they know what to do and how to do it. It might not be a perfect package, but the flaws of Not to Disappear are really what make its successes stand so tall.