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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Friday, April 19, 2024

Daughter's 'Not to Disappear' satisfies fans with comforting familiarity

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The band "Daughter" during SXSW 2012 at Willie Nelson's ranch in Luck, TX on Mar. 15, 2012.

Daughter is arguably one of the most successful indie acts of our generation. The band’s debut, “If You Leave” received significant praise when it was released in 2013, and produced three singles including the Spotify favorite "Youth." Daughter’s popularity is due in part to its ability to create a powerful, moving effect on listeners with a very simple, minimal sound -- the band's atmospheric music is the perfect companion to a gloomy Sunday afternoon. Fortunately, Daughter’s sound has more or less remained the same over the years and this trend continues with its latest effort. Smartly released in the wintertime, “Not to Disappear," which dropped on Jan. 15, is the perfect follow up to “If You Leave." It is not bold and revolutionary, but it will satisfy fans with its comforting familiarity.

Despite Daughter's general interest in sticking with the same sound, the band does briefly explore new territory in "Not to Disappear." The album opens with the fittingly titled "New Ways," which has a slightly different feel than much of the album's other tracks. The haunting beats complement the notably louder and more guitar-heavy sound. The album's second track, titled “Numbers,” sees the band return to a more familiar vibe, although the inclusion of percussion makes the song's overall effect more powerful. With repetitive and memorable lyrics like “I feel numb in this kingdom,” the track is evidently more pop than the opening track. “Do the Right Thing," follows with a softer, simpler arrangement, and like "Youth", the song’s simplicity captivates its listeners. A song about old age and memory loss,Do the Right Thing” soars in its final lines: “And they're making children / Everyone's in love/ I just sit in silence / Let the pictures soak." These lyrics convey the ephemerality of life and love in a poignant, devastating way.

While “Do the Right Thing” is certainly the highlight of the album, each of the remaining tracks has remarkable moments of its own. “How” and “Mothers” are emotional break-up tracks with a build up. “Alone / With You” is not very outstanding musically, but its lyrics candidly explore the dilemma of remaining in a painful relationship. The next two songs, “No Care” and “To Belong,” lift the mood with faster beats, despite the fact that both tracks are about dysfunctional relationships. In “No Care," lead singer Elena Tonra chants, “I don't care, I don't care anymore” over and over again, while “To Belong” features the lyrics “I don’t want to belong to you, to anyone.” While previous songs examine the vulnerable stages of heartbreak, these two tracks offer an inspiring indifference to romantic disappointment.

The newfound indifference is, however, strikingly absent in “Fossa," the album's penultimate track. The tempo is still fast, but confessional lyrics like “I don’t owe you much / But I miss you so” suggest a break up not so easily forgotten. The final song, “Made of Stone” finds Tonra contracting the message in "Fossa." She tells her lover, “I think I'm made of stone/ I should be feeling more,” even though the preceding song strongly suggests the opposite.

Plainly stated, "Not to Disappear" is a breakup album. Its simple and confessional lyrics openly express the grief and sorrow of a crumbling relationship, the words matching the dark and gloomy atmosphere of the music. The album has nothing new and groundbreaking to offer, but it will certainly please Daughter's fans. Though “Not to Disappear” will not become a classic on its own, the album will most likely to be remembered as an admirable, if safe, follow-up to “If You Leave."

Summary Daughter plays it safe of 'Not to Disappear' but nevertheless offers a competent album.
3.5 Stars