Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

LONDON GRAMMAR

If You Wait

2014-03-30

London Grammar is a trip-hop trio that formed around 2010 at the University of Nottingham, comprised of vocalist Hannah Reid, guitarist Dan Rothman, and keyboarist/drummer Dominic 'Dot' Major. Their songs combine Reid's smoky, soaring voice with Major's piano scores and Rothman's guitar arrangements drenched in reverb to sound equally massive and soaring. Their material began surfacing around 2012, a year after being signed to Ministry of Sound, and with their official debut EP Metal & Dust in February 2013 came a wave of excellent remixes of their songs by artists like Starslinger ("Wasting My Young Years"), Bonobo ("Hey Now"), and Raaja Bones & Fyfe Dangerfield (their version of Kavinsky's "Nightcall"). They were also featured on the track "Help Me Lose My Mind" from Disclosure's wildly successful 2013 release Settle. Their debut full-length If You Wait peaked at #2 on the UK and Australian charts and they performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in January earlier this year. All in all, these guys rose up quick.

The "schtick" (if you can call it that) of London Grammar is modeled after fellow U.K. group The xx: simple and repetitive interlocking guitar and bass riffs treated with arena-worthy echoing, dramatic piano parts, some vocals that provide a real sexy vibe, and the heavy emphasis on entrancing percussive elements that is mandatory if you're calling something trip-hop. Many moments on If You Wait illustrate a young band's mastery of this formula, most notably "Strong", "Wasting My Young Years" and "High Life." Others present individually enjoyable instances, like the impressive but not overzealous display of Reid's chops on the title track, and the tasteful, satisfying build-up of "Stay Awake." However, the biggest downfall of London Grammar is inherent in their chosen genre: some songs seem too dramatic ("Flickers"), too boring ("Sights" and "Metal & Dust"), or at the very worst, unnecessary ("Nightcall"). But hey, they're young and have loads of potential, so it wouldn't be too far of a stretch to say these issues could get ironed out, if you wait.

Recommended Tracks: #1 "Hey Now", #6 "Strong", #12 "High Life"

Sig Steiger

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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