ARTIST London Grammar
ALBUM If You Wait
LABEL Ministry Of Sound
RELEASE DATE 10.9.2013
7.6 | 10
London Grammar is just one of several musical acts to emerge from the UK the past couple of years, along with contemporaries Disclosure, Jessie Ware and Sam Smith. Lead vocalist Hannah Reid was featured on the wonderful closing track off their stellar 2013 album Settle, “Help Me Lost My Mind,” and as that track showed, Reid is among the best vocalists of this still young decade. Reminiscent in tone to fellow vocal powerhouse Florence Welch, Reid’s vocals shine over a musical backdrop seemingly inspired by The xx.
Album highlights “Shyer” and “Metal and Dust” borrow innocently enough from their inspirations, with the former a hazy, atmospheric cut accented by Reid’s vocal flourishes, and the latter helping London Grammar carve out a niche that is more distinctly their own. It’s propellent drum pattern keeps the song in check, and Reid’s chopped up vocals toward the track’s end is a pleasingly gentle climax. The songs on If You Wait succeed the most when Reid pulls in the reins on her vocals, creating pockets of tension.
Their cover of Kavinsky’s single “Nightcall” highlights If You Wait’s limitations; whereas the original delivers a jolt by delivering the vocals in an icy, robotic timbre, Reid’s emotional and vocal tenacity makes a lyric such as “I’m giving you a night call to tell you how I feel” a little silly; why the need to explain the obvious? While the parts are there for London Grammar to become the next The xx or Florence + The Machine (and they just might on this go around), the next step for the the trio is to figure out how to successfully score big without necessarily going for the home run each time.