Live Review Daughter, St. John at Hackney, London 19th November 2015

St. John’s grand arches feel purpose-built for Daughter.

Daughter’s twinkling melancholy could be pinned as a victim of its own success at times. For every bigger stage or festival hopped aboard, the intimacy and intricacy of their sound suffered among its increasingly massive platform and the swelling of chatty crowds.

Tonight, though, they’re crystalline. St John’s grand arches feel purpose-built for Daughter, and it’s a heroes’ welcome that greets their arrival, before a total and respectful silence envelops the audience. Over the other side of the barrier it’s equally quiet, Elena Tonra as begrudging a figurehead as ever, incomprehensibly mumbling (presumably) messages of thanks between tracks.

Leaning heavily on material from debut ‘If You Leave’, it’s a set that’s defined by that record’s softly swelling waves of sound. While ‘Human’’s slightly rougher edges allow it to break through the smog, ‘Winter’ and ‘Amsterdam’ end up slightly lost amongst the cavernous hall, their whisper-quiet atmospherics passing like smoke between fingers.

Lead track from new album ‘Not To Disappear’, ‘Doing The Right Thing’, gets an enraptured response, cheers greeting it at the gates. As they unroll new song after new song, it’s those which prove to be their masterclass. ‘How’’s rolling drum work adds pace, while ‘New Ways’ drags that washing Daughter crescendo into new, more adventurous corners. Latest single ‘Numbers’ is a peak, Tonra’s snarling declaration that “you better make me better” adding a much needed sharp edge to proceedings.

Despite their best intentions, there are times that Daughter do disappear tonight, enveloped by their own soft sway. ‘Not To Disappear’, though, is a step up like few others, and as it punctuates points of the evening, the diversity it brings to Daughter’s sound marks them out as a band finally settling into the bigger slots they’ve glided into.

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Photos: Caroline Quinn

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