I have a story to tell. I was driving back to Syracuse a few weeks ago, and passing Rochester, I played with the radio dial till I found a station that suited my mood. I settled on WBER, a decision I will never regret. They were playing Weezer and Jimmy Eat World, personal favorites. But, that’s beside the point. There I was, cruising at eighty miles an hour down the Thruway through the dark with only taillights and the road ahead of me, and out of my speakers came an angelic voice, bearing a song I couldn’t begin to fathom.
That voice belongs to Elena Tonra, frontwoman of the London trio, Daughter. And the song that caught me so off-guard is “Smother,” from the debut LP If You Leave. Now, I wasn’t surprised to find an indie band on an alternative rock station. WBER is known for that kind of thing and they’re good at it. The timing is what shocked me; what were the odds? That I would be in that car on that highway at that moment the song would play is beyond me. I wouldn’t go so far as to say Daughter is life changing. No. But they are an unimaginable force to be reckoned with.
It isn’t just Tonra’s vocals that captivate, her lyricism is intense and unwavering. She willingly puts everything out there:
“I should go now quietly
For my bones have found a place to lie down and sleep
Where all my layers can become reeds
All my limbs can become trees
All my children can become me
What a mess I leave
“Smother” reads like a poem, a great poem. I won’t even begin to delve into what any of this means, however. This isn’t Poetry 101. What I’m saying is I embrace the depth; I love whatever territory she’s willing to take me to. Tonra writes the soundtracks to dreams. Maybe not the dreams you want to be having, but the dreams your soul is thankful for having when it’s all over.
This is adult indie rock at it’s finest. Daughter is the kind of music you have to grow into. It’s sad, melancholy and darkly beautiful all at once and it can be overwhelming. But that’s what I enjoyed most about Daughter the first night I heard it. The band is in regular rotation now on my iPod. Don’t get the wrong idea, though. This is no review. This is no pitch. This is just me discovering one of a million bands that are out there. And I wanted to share that first time listening experience with you. Daughter isn’t for everyone, but I’m glad it’s for me.