Imagine the result of combining the downtempo style and production of a band like The xx with the vocal power of a female singer such as Florence Welch. Throw in a bit of Bat For Lashes, and the result would probably end up sounding very similar to London Grammar.
The three piece gave the world a taste of their style with the release of their first EP Metal & Dust in February 2013, which started to build the band’s fanbase and left many eager for more. In June, the band featured on the track ‘Help Me Lose My Mind’ by the UK garage duo Disclosure, whose album Settle topped the UK album charts and gained London Grammar a bit more popularity and a few more fans.
With their aptly titled debut album If You Wait, London Grammar have brought us more of what we heard in their EP and it’s exactly what we’ve been waiting for. The incredible vocal talent of Hannah Reid takes the spotlight, with the subtle instrumentation and delicate production from Dan Rothman and Dot Major to support it. Their style is somewhat difficult to define, as it features elements of many genres; electro pad synthesizers, indie guitars, hip-hop breakbeats, pop vocals and grand pianos, layered and fused together with strong melodies and skilled songwriting to create a perfectly crafted soundscape.
One of the standout tracks from the album is the lead single ‘Wasting My Young Years’, a slow starter that gradually builds and feels as though it could descend into a deep house track at any moment. Along with many of the other tracks on the album, this is asking to be remixed and a good producer could work wonders with it and turn it into something completely new and equally as brilliant.
An unexpected cover is included on the album in the form of Kavinsky’s ‘Nightcall’, most notably from the soundtrack to the 2011 film Drive. What begins as a simple combination of vocals, grand piano and electric guitar progresses into a full band rendition that maintains the darkness and melancholy of the original, to which Reid’s vocals lend themselves perfectly.
You may think that an album consisting of eleven tracks (or seventeen in the deluxe edition) that all follow a very similar theme might grow boring or tiresome, but in this instance, you’d be wrong. In fact, the consistency between the tracks makes it one of those albums that you can easily find yourself becoming fully immersed in, flowing seamlessly between tracks from start to finish. The previously released songs (such as ‘Strong’ and ‘Metal & Dust’) don’t feel at all out of place when heard in context with the rest of the album as some singles do, but are instead a welcome familiarity.
London Grammar have continued on from exactly where the Metal & Dust EP left off to create a fantastic album that has put an original spin on a familiar sound. With the shortlist of nominees for the Mercury Prize ‘2013 Album of the Year’ being announced on Wednesday 11th September, it wouldn’t be surprising if London Grammar’s debut were to feature. Though it would certainly be up against some incredible albums, If You Wait definitely has what it takes to be in with a chance of winning the prestigious award.