Friday, 2 May 2014

"If You Wait" Album Review

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
Check it out... if you crave a modern album with lyrical intelligence, soothing and dramatic instrumentation, and absolutely blissful vocals, that will remind you of great bands like Coldplay and U2

Skip it... if you'd rather stick to mindless modern club music and EDM, instead of embracing what should be the future of pop.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             


"Whether you're looking at every detail critically, or simply indulging as a casual listener, this should make for a wonderful listening experience"

I'm sorry I have to inform you on another expansion to the site right when I'm attempting to implement said expansion, but I just couldn't find time to write a post specifically for informing you, so instead, I'm just dropping into the deep end, and delivering my first pop album review. And what a way to start! With modern pop honestly heading in a southern direction, it's always wonderful to see a band willing to go in the opposite direction to the crowd, to deviate from the synthesizer route, and instead opt for something more contemporary. And whilst many bands do intend to go this route, many fail for one reason or another. Well, another contemporary band has arrived on the pop scene, and is intending to provide something fresh, something that will have you raising your eye from the first note. Who is this band, you ask. Well, that will be London Grammar, a British-trio, consisting of vocalist Hannah Reid, guitarist Dan Rotham, and Dominic Majo. Their debut album If You Wait has been receiving quite the critical acclaim, as well as reaching great high points commercially, and so after a live viewing of their lead single from the album, Strong, on the Graham Norton show, I thought it best to investigate into what was earning this young and talented band such buzz. What I discovered, was that not only was I listening to some of the most enthralling, intoxicating and addicting music to be released to the public for years, but I was possibly taking in album of the year nominee #1. 

I'd best start with the lead single, Strong, which claims best song straight up. Vulnerable, beautifully composed, and vocally astounding, Strong is currently the front runner for best song of 2014; I would like to make known, the year an album or song can get nominated within depends on... well, actually, it just depends on when an album or song gets most popular, based on Last.FM charts, because I'm incredibly lazy, and don't wish to branch outside my preferred forte. Back to Strong; complimented by a perfect minimalist effort by Majo and Rotham, Hannah Reid's vocals stand out in this near perfect lead single. Beginning to end, mesmerising and haunting vocals from Reid make for an utterly perfect performance, that suits best with the instrumental provided from her two colleagues. The lyrics allow for an incredibly vulnerable and impuissant performance, which she does provide. The instrumental alone is pitch perfect, reminiscent of any number of Coldplay's piano melodies, and whilst slow, maintains a certain level of catchiness that is appreciated, without sacrificing the majestic ingenuity of the lead melody. And whilst yes, Strong is the stand out here, the rest of the album is no less impressive. Not all listeners will appreciate the often dark and wistful tone that is set, but most should embrace it's uniqueness, in contrast to other pop albums currently trending widely. So few artists nowadays reflect this style in such a positively reflective way, that has you not only tapping your foot, but listening carefully to the lyrics to establish thoughts and presumptions on meaning. Even when the album does stray towards the more common pop music sound, it doesn't give up the musical integrity founded throughout the rest of the album; it keeps to that blissful, floating mood for the entire running time.

Other stand out tracks on the album include the much acclaimed Wasting My Young Years, Nightcall, and Sights. Make no doubt about it though, the entire album is a treat. From beginning to end, you should be invested in what you're listening to; whether you're looking at every detail critically, or simply indulging as a casual listener, this should make for a wonderful listening experience. Those who aren't a fan of the slow and delicately composed style that is gaining less and less relevance in today's pop charts will no doubt censure this album, and call it boring or uninspired, but that's certainly not the case; inspiration stems from every single track available. This feels more a personal experience, something the band no doubt intended, and this is helped along with lyrical depth that seems to originate from band members, most commonly Reid's, personal experiences. So, if you're craving something more emotionally satisfying than your common modern pop club music, and value incredible vocals on par with Florence Welch and Lana Del Ray, then maybe If You Wait is for you. For this guy here, this was a euphoric experience that I will not soon forget. You can purchase If You Wait on Amazon here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Highlights:
1. Hey Now
2. Stay Awake
3. Shyer
4. Wasting My Young Years
5. Sights
6. Strong*
7. Nightcall*
8. Metal And Dust
9. Interlude
10. Flickers
11. If You Wait

Junkie Score: 100
Buy or Stream? Buy

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