Hannah Reid has one of the most distinctive vocals in electronic pop music. Her haunting and deep harmony brings an ethereal and operatic flavour to London Grammar’s sound. The initial singles suggested nothing but more of the same 4 years after their groundbreaking debut. Their unique brand of dream pop electronica has almost painted them into a corner. Reid’s solemn contralto is so restricting in the genre that Dan Rothman and Dominic Major have their creative hands tied. If You Wait was a head-turner, but to have the same success with Truth Is A Beautiful Thing, they’ll have to show more sides to their music.
Certainly the title track and ‘Oh Woman, Oh Man’ offered little more than the monotonous melancholy so prominent on album one. ‘Rooting For You’ suffered from the same lack of imagination – Reid’s vocal taking centre stage while the subtle percussive and melodic elements drift sheepishly in the background. Only ‘Big Picture’ presented an improvement in terms of the production doing its share of heavy lifting.
Their unique brand of dream pop electronica has almost painted them into a corner.
Truth Is A Beautiful Thing is too preoccupied with the same mood. Every song sounds like an attempt at conveying the same inspiration. The moody and self-possessed lyrical themes are a step away from the love-and-loss-inspired fuel of If You Wait. Only the pronounced rhythm sections of ‘Non-Believer’ and ‘Bones of Ribbon’ briefly wake me up from my mid-album doze.
Alas, my wake-up call proves to be a false alarm. ‘Who Am I’ quickly returns me to the dull and dreary road of colourless soundscapes. The title track may be the most unsatisfactory conclusion to an album I’ve heard this year. Fortunately, these two songs flank the album’s strongest moment. ‘Leave The War With Me’ is in a minority, being the only song which flaunts the harmonious potential of the three young musicians.
The novelty of London Grammar has, for the moment, dissipated.
The novelty of the trio has worn off
Moody and monotonous
Shows little progression from debut
|1. Rooting For You|
|2. Big Picture|
|3. Wild Eyed|
|4. Oh Woman Oh Man|
|5. Hell to the Liars|
|6. Everyone Else|
|8. Bones of Ribbon|
|9. Who Am I|
|10. Leave the War With Me|
|11. Truth Is a Beautiful Thing|