You are going to suffer, and you will enjoy it. That’s what I would say to anyone in advance of seeing Daughter. Slithers of light flicker through fragile panes of stained glass from the streetlamps outside, into The Albert Hall, amassing a grandeur that couldn’t be more fitting for singer Elena Tonra’s haunting vocals. With an artistic maturity beyond their years, Daughter subdue the congregation into a hypnotic trance. The rage and the hush is ramped, and their performance bleeds ingenuity from the very first chord.
‘How’, a love-gone-wrong shoegaze opens with the same visceral energy of If You Leave whilst alluding to signs of a newfound immediacy, too. Not To Disappear, the band’s newly released sophomore record, translates astonishingly on stage: Daughter’s signature, painstaking fragility is maintained, combined with a greater complexity that delights and dazzles in equal measure.
The silence between each song cuts like a knife. Tonra has her audience in the palm of her hand. With immeasurable consideration, she sings of the mental decline of the elderly in ‘Doing The Right Thing’, and it’s hard to swallow, whilst ‘Numbers’ ricochets like a pendulum.
Daughter make sultriness tasteful, and time loses all meaning. Seasons flit effortlessly between the ornateness of ‘Winter’ and the idyllic ‘Human’, before transgressing towards a formidably performed ‘Smother.’ Tonra takes a breathless pause to shower her audience in small thank yous and an elfish giggle as she combs her fringe with her fingers, before continuing on with the set. The percussion dissects Elena’s bewitching vocals as ‘Youth’ is played out, whilst the audience whispers back to her that ‘if you’re in love, then you are the lucky one / because most of us are bitter over someone.’ This then makes way for the glorious, technicoloured finale. Think of Not To Disappear as a slow-burner and the proceeding ‘Fossa’ as the ignition that builds and builds with pulsating snare-claps until its melodrama can barely be contained. Finally, then, we take a step back for the encore, and the trio delight us with a mesh of fevered harmony in the form of ‘Made of Stone’.