The night is longer than the day. The barometer is close to zero. Trees are bare. Exactly the right mood to crawl on the sofa with the latest offshoot of our record crash. Exactly five years ago, Christopher’s most intense sound experience came out on CD, which he still has on the shelves until today. After all, Melvin could do something with two tracks. Eyes open for London Grammar’s “If You Wait.”
… and then in November ’13, pretty much came exactly five years London Grammar and “If You Wait”. I was somewhere in the bachelor of my studies, wandered around, did not know what was going to happen and suddenly I heard the most conclusive album I know.
“If You Wait” creates something that artists rarely do get it done: An individual, novel sound that works on album length. That sounds self-contained. The ONE mood builds and this runs through to the end. Who does not give in after 100 runs. A sound in which something can always be discovered that has not been heard before. An absolute rarity, a rarity.
To name a highlight is virtually impossible, as London Grammar delivers 11 songs here, all of which offer the same high quality. “If You Wait” is the CD that turns you on and makes you feel different right from the first track. You long for your personal favorites and when it’s over, you really want to start all over again.
But what does this true masterpiece sound like? “If You Wait” is not a mass album at first, but its sound is far too special. The mood is constantly depressing, extremely melancholy, sad. You reflect your life, your current situation, you look uncertainly into the future – and yet the music offers so much identification that you never feel alone. “If You Wait” is depressed, but not desperate. “If You Wait” is sometimes very cool and yet extremely enveloping. Never managed to capture a whole album so awesome life situations of me. As a mid-twenties student, I felt incredibly much in the first, second and now also in the … no idea how many runs.
In terms of sound, “If You Wait” is primarily electronic. At the same time also reduced, quiet and not danceable at all. If anything, you can close your eyes and swing with it. In addition, the sound is pop, but not commonplace. Alternative, but not rocking. Hannah Reid is honored with a very demanding, wistful soprano voice that could not be more apt to the music. Dan Rothman on guitar makes hooks that are just as melodic as the vocals. Dot Major conjures up no beats on the keyboard and on the drum machine, but rather soundscapes. Every song has a kind of Klimax. It builds, it culminates, it disappears. This reminds in the meantime of Björk or The XX, only in better. In haunting. In catchy.
The opener shows “Hey Now” how perfect a setup can work, which gets me an absolute goosebumps EVERY time with the Beatdrop. Madness. The well-known “Strong” represents nothing less than one of the strongest ballads ever, where every heart threatens to break for minutes. “If You Wait” and “Interlude (Live)” are reduced to piano, vocals and few effects, delivering music for each credits of an impressive Arthaus movie. Every now and then the music may groove, showing “Flickers” and “Metal And Dust” that electronic indie pop is more than a little beat. Again, the instrumentation goes really deep, “Metal & Dust” even creates a common catchy tune. “Wasting My Young Years” describes the almost unbearable feeling that you do not spend your time properly, but every use of time is justified. With “Nightcall” the 3 Britons (who are funny enough from Nottingham and not from London) show how a cover of a song works properly. Here, a sumptuous piece was created from a good original. “Sights”, “Shyer” and “Stay Awake” all convince in their very own way. Some songs light up right after the first run, others need space and patience.
Who still has the option of the Deluxe Edition to come, it should do that. This is where London Grammar shows off its creative streak, deviating in part from its basic pattern and doing just the right thing: you’re adding a bonus CD with 6 tracks that dare and do not disturb the overall picture of CD1, but instead on putting. For this purpose Deluxe Editions are made, not to burn B-sides or to fill up with remixes unnecessarily. Especially the drummed and slightly Latin-sounding “Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me “is not a comparison to the rest, as well as the bossa-like” Maybe “, the extremely cool” High Life “and probably the most extraordinary song on the record,” Help Me Lose My Mind “thanks to the DJ Duo Disclosure could be played in any club. Dance of the finest kind. “Maybe” and “When We Were Young” complete their cheeky performance and spit you back to reality. After an hour of dreaming.
London Grammar have set themselves an absolute memorial in my eyes with “If You Wait”. Without wanting to exaggerate. An album that keeps quality from start to finish, creating a mood without being boring for a second. Meanwhile, there is a successor called “Truth Is A Beautiful Thing”, which also delivers incredibly, but unfortunately does not quite reach the predecessor. Absolutely no matter. Even after a handful of years, it has lost nothing of its aura and will not do so in 20 years. Thank you for a piece of music that will forever capture a sense of life.
London Grammar is the band that I’m going to deal with in the plate crash this time. I had heard the name several times before, but I could not assign a specific song to the group before listening to the album “If You Wait”. Of course, I was also able to approach the matter completely with the opinion of my friend (“I love London Grammar !”) And Christopher’s threat (“Watch what you write!”). But I knew from the beginning: ‘London Grammar’ and my musical taste? That will be difficult. After listening to the debut album of the British trio, this prognosis was confirmed.
The songs on “If You Wait” can be classified in three categories for me. First of all, songs that I really like, which I would like to hear again, and in some cases have already added to my “Month Favorites” playlists. Second, songs that I find quite nice, but will not necessarily listen again. Third, songs that make me extremely bored and give me about as much pleasure as driving four hours of local train.
Let’s start with category 1. Here are two pieces for me. Once “Hey Now”, with which London Grammar made their breakthrough. A very emotional song in which the extraordinary talent that singer Hannah Reid owns comes to the fore. This voice is very very good, even on sober observation. The second song, which impressed me a lot, is called “Nightcall” and was very familiar to me at the first listen, for whatever reason. Especially the musical setup from minute 2:30, starting with a few soft piano tones and then louder and wider instrumentation I liked. However, that was far too little for my taste – too quiet and too little energy. Otherwise I mostly hear fast and loud music, which does not mean that I do not like pop music in principle. But here, in my opinion, the accelerator pedal could have been pushed through again. I would have liked Hannah Reid to raise her voice to the highest sound regions, like a Sia does. Nonetheless, a great song that immediately went into my “Monthly Favorites” playlist.
In the second category, the mediocre songs, there are a total of five songs: “Stay Awake”, “Wasting My Young Years”, ” Metal & Dust “,” Interlude (Live) “and the title song” If You Wait “. All of these songs contain elements that I like, but also a lot that bothers me or just bores me. “Wasting My Young Years” lives in my opinion,
for example, only of the, as already highlighted, really great vocals of the front woman, musically happens to me there too little. “Stay Awake” and “Metal & Dust” are also splashing around, but at least with the drum beats they get even more interesting. The band seems to have a penchant for “Drum & Bass”, because some drum clocks on the record are reminiscent of this genre. In addition to the drumming I especially like the strings, which can be heard especially in the title song and the “Interlude” and form a great sound carpet, on which Reid then sets her voice. Especially the “Interlude” shows once more, why I come with London Grammar only to room temperature and I’m not really warm about the heart. The said “Interlude” lasts four minutes, but needs felt eternities to ever really what happens. It is not until minute 3 that a climax of the piece is foreseeable, the instruments get louder and louder, Reid raises her voice and another epic moment arises. That’s great, but at the same time you can not hide that about three agoNothing happens for minutes.
The third category of songs includes “Shyer”, “Sights”, “Strong” and “Flickers”. I can not say that much, except that they bore me a lot. Even so strong that I almost can not remember what happened right after listening or if anything happened. Irritatingly, the first-named pieces all start with the same letter and have an almost identical word length. Since I find everyone equally boring, this also means that I can not even distinguish the said pieces. By the way, according to Spotify “Strong” is the most listened to song. I can not really explain why, but that’s how the tastes go.
By the way: The deluxe version of the album still has some positive surprises in store for me: “Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me” is right nice summer song and in addition there is also a song with Disclosure in the bonus part, which I generally think great.
London Grammar have two absolutely cool songs, maybe a few more pieces, that whole nice, but in total this is nothing more than an average album.
And that sounds like this:
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