London Grammar’s Debut Album

Ever since first hearing Hannah Reid’s vocals on Disclosure’s ‘Settle’ released at the tired end of May this year, I’ve been waiting for London Grammar’s debut album. Their first release was late 2012, and it seems incredible that the Nottingham grads have turned around ‘If You Wait’ in such a short time, released on Columbia records.

Often when you hype things up too much they risk being a disappointment, not only Nicolas Cage films, but albums too. Debut albums always have so much press behind them its difficult not to get excited. I can say however, that on this occasion I certainly was not disappointed.

The opening track on the album really sets the tone. ‘Hey Now’, which was first released in late February this year on the band’s EP ‘Metal & Dust’ is a song that builds anticipation in a way that only be matched by the quality of the album that follows it. The album dives straight into open, raw lyrics influenced by Reid’s teenage years. I couldn’t help but play out the story of ‘Stay Awake’ in my own head; it’s an emotional insight.

A particularly nice surprise on the album was London Grammar’s cover of Kavinsky’s ‘Nightcall’, which was popularised by the film ‘Drive’ where Ryan Gosling exhales and shares awkward glances for 90 minutes. Nah it’s a good film. The stripped back and naked cover of this song sees Reid’s strength and power delicately founded upon Dot Major’s steady tinkling piano and the orchestral sounding guitar of Dan Rothman. The song gradually builds to a break beat climax finding the euphoria in an initially solemn piece of music.

I don’t know how regular this phenomenon is, but I often find that the tracks towards end of the album tend to get overlooked. Perhaps I’m just lazy. ‘I’m With You’, however, keeps you wanting more right to the bitter end. The penultimate song, ‘Flickers’ begins with a smooth and undulating bass line and popping steady drums. Rothman’s guitar build layer upon layer and soon Reid’s vocals have arrived to tell a new story.

The title track of the album ties up all the albums loose ends at the end of the 11 tracks. You have remind yourself that there’s only three people in this band with all the sounds that create the seemingly loose and dreamlike arrangement, when in actual fact there’s a lot of thought behind every noise you hear. It’s an album that is crafted with care.  Perfect for those evening spent around the house pottering, chilling, relaxing; ‘I’m With You’ is thoughtful, moody and in places very lively and bouncy. Invest some real time listening.

By @Luke_Gallimore