London Grammar’s debut album If You Wait is proof of the band’s beyond-their-years maturity.
London Grammar’s debut album If You Wait is proof of the band’s beyond-their-years maturity, and, as you will soon find out, will become one of the most addictive albums of 2013.
The debut release comes after some considerable Internet hype; after all their single ‘Hey Now’ has racked up over a million views on YouTube, they’ve recorded two sessions for Radio 1 and even featured on Disclosure’s number one album Settle. Pressure on then surely? Well, these three Londoners have proved they can take the heat and have delivered on that hype.
There are obvious comparisons to the xx, and some are understandable, such as the amount of open space left in songs, the heart-wrenching lyrics and the clean guitar tones. However, what the xx possess and London Grammar lack in comparison is that genuine intimacy, created by both the lyrics and music, that allowed the listener to personally delve into the lives of Romy and Oliver
London Grammar also lack the catchiness of the xx but the sheer grandiose and power created by Hannah Reid’s remarkable voice makes up for it, and in turn allows them to stand slightly aside from their fellow Londoners. Indeed, the fact that they’re being compared to the Mercury Prize winners will not only be personally flattering to them, but it’s also testament to just how great this record sounds.
Although the music that backs it up is powerful in its own way, with truly immaculate production, trip-hop beats, poignant keys and heart-stropping crescendos, it’s Reid’s (presumably classically trained?) voice that ruthlessly yet delicately dominates the album
There are times where things just seem to slide by, though that’s simply an unpreventable natural occurrence in what is an exhaustingly emotional ride. By no means are there any bad songs, it’s just there is a huge gulf between the standout tracks, ‘Hey Now’, ‘I’m Wasting My Young Years’ and ‘Strong’ and the not-so-standout tracks, ‘Sights’ and single ‘Shyer’. Criticism that the album is boring is downright unfair, and what the album lacks in intensity and zest it more than makes up for with its beauty and emotion.
For a debut album it really is impressive work and one that shows great promise for the future of this young band.