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Album Review: London Grammar – If You Wait

2 min read

British trio London Grammar have enjoyed a fairly meteoric rise to fame. Vocalist Hannah Reid and guitarist Dan Rothman, two thirds of the group, met in their freshman year at Nottingham University in 2009, before being introduced to multi-instrumentalist Dot Major (keyboard, djembe, drums). For the next couple of years, London Grammar played low-key gigs in local bars, but in 2012 they uploaded their debut single Hey Now onto the internet, and it was a huge success; as of 29th August, 2013, the song had received over 950,000 hits on YouTube.
Since then, it’s been pretty non-stop for the three Brit students. They released their EP Metal And Dust at the beginning of this year, featured on the track Help Me Lose My Mind on Disclosure’s number one UK album Settle which was released in June, and they’ve released a second single Wasting My Young Years, which reached number 31 on the UK singles chart. They’ve recorded two live sessions for BBC Radio 1, and this year they’re appearing at numerous festivals throughout the world. Before that though, they’re releasing their debut album If You Wait, which is absolutely phenomenal.

LondonGrammarIfYouWaitLondon Grammar’s sound has been likened to The XX, but with ballads, and Hannah Reid’s voice to Florence Welch without the ostentation. Their songwriting is delicate, organic, and fuelled by such fierce emotion which carries throughout If You Wait. The album opens with their debut single, Hey Now, in which Reid’s deep vocals dance with despair. “Hey now / Letters burning by my bed for you / Hey now / I can feel my instincts here for you” she calls, as the guitar plucks, drums echo, and sythn pads blossom around her. This stunning song somehow makes you feel strong but vulnerable at the same time.

The album continues in this vein, taking listeners on a journey of emotional turmoil, in both more upbeat tracks such as Stay Awake with its driving percussion and guitar, and tracks of pure anguish, such as Wasting My Young Years, with its mournful piano and reaching vocals. There’s even a cover of Kavinsky’s Nightcall (the song in the opening credits from the 2010 film Drive), stripped of its electronic backbone, becoming an anthem of sorrow and loneliness.

Though the songwriting from this group is sensational it’s really Reid’s vocals that pull everything together. Her voice soars above the instrumentation, yet is also husky and powerful in its lower register. It’s just so BEAUTIFUL, there’s no other way of putting it.

If You Wait is a fantastically put together album with all the tracks being consistent and yet individual at the same time. It’s breathtaking, achingly emotional, and I can’t think of a debut album I’ve liked more than this in recent years.

Buy ‘London Grammar – If You Wait’ from Amazon

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