On paper, the relationship between Somerset House and tonight’s headliner is a match made in heaven. Beautiful, secluded, pebbled courtyard meets, refined indie outfit. Unfortunately, an overwhelming sense of novelty that cheapens the experience is unavoidable. And Daughter are anything but novel.
As we wait for the London three-piece to arrive, two large screens either side of the stage display selfies from the well-groomed, after-work crowd posted on Twitter along side #AmexSounds (the gig is supported by American Express). The screens then serve no further purpose for the night. It’s a gimmick your average gig neither provides or requires.
Daughter themselves are excellent. They’re slick and cool, barely entertaining the idea they should perk up their set for such a grand occasion. After playing ‘Human’, hardly a party track, guitarist Igor Haefeli remarks, “That’s our only energetic song.” A comment at which the audience looks slightly dismayed.
But the band stay their course, performing some of the finest achingly sorrowful tracks the music world has ever had the melancholy fortune to accommodate. ‘Still’, ‘Landfill’ and ‘Smother’ all have the goosebumps and forearms hairs raised high, despite the mild July night. And with the sun setting and the moon rising above the neoclassical wings of Somerset House, there are moments of glorious congruity.
For all the scale of the venue takes away from a band best placed in smaller, more intimate settings, the event does provide the band with the impetus to invite a full orchestra to join them for the last two songs. ‘Youth’ and ‘Amsterdam’ are both impossibly rousing and regain the attention of those in the crowd who turn to ironic dancing to distract themselves from the sense of deep sadness dished out by lead singer Elena Tonra.
It is a positive that a band like Daughter has the opportunity to play such a setting, but it’s sad to think they end up playing second fiddle to it.
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This week has also seen new releases from Shame, Daughter, Miley Cyrus and others.
It’s their first album since 2016’s ‘Not To Disappear’.
The album, under the name Ex:Re, is out this week via 4AD.
The album is out this Friday(!) and previewed by a video for first single ‘Romance’.