on 3 August 2014
I never leave reviews but this is such a stirring unique album, I couldn't not. This woman is amazing.....people compare her to Florence Welch and I understand why, but this vocalist does heartbreakingly sad like Florence could never do (not being mean, it's just true). Very few albums manage to make a tear roll down my face, but this is one of them. It's not all sad and melancholic but my god, they do it so well! Beautifully produced, a pleasure to own. Thank you London Grammar.
on 9 September 2013
The debut album by London Grammar, If You Wait, has, no pun intended, been well worth the wait. The band spent 18 months writing and recording this album, and that patience really shows. It feels to me like there's a lot of bands that rush to get albums out on a wave of hype, then they're rather disappointing, but this is not the case here.
London Grammar's sound could be summed up as a cross between the XX and Florence Welch. They have the chilled minimalistic vibe of the XX, but then Hannah Reid's voice just takes it to a new level. She can do the softer pieces very well, almost whispering at times, but then when it's required, she soars up. She has a tone in her voice that just fits perfectly with the accompaniment.
The album opens with a gentle synth riff which the guitar gentle picks away over the top of. Reid then begins the album with a very gentle opening, 'Hey now, letters burning by my bed for you'. The track continues like this until a gentle crescendo builds and the sound swells up before gently fading away. 'Hey Now' is there best known track to date, and makes a great opening to the album.
'Stay Awake', the second track starts with a ethereal sound slowly flitting around before a piano and guitar play almost in unison. A driving drum beat is then added and Reid's distinctive vocals are then thrown in.
The beauty of this album is how little seems to be going on at any one point. Everything feels like it's been very carefully considered and honed. Nothing feels like it's redundant. But all of this just draws more attention to Reid's voice and allows it to truly take centre stage as it deserves.
'Wating My Young Years', is a gentle almost soulful ballad. Reid wrote the lyrics about an ex-boyfriend, and it shows with lyrics like 'I'm wasting my young years'. The piano accompaniment with occasional guitar flits is London Grammar summed up in a nut shell.
'Metal & Dust' is another great track. It starts with a brief distorted sample and piano before Reid starts singing. The tracks then gains momentum during the chorus with a drum providing a sharpness to punctuate the rest of the rounded, delicate sound. Toward the end of the track Reid's vocals are heavily distorted and modified as the track grows towards it's pinnacle before gentle fading back.
'Interlude' is a gentle track, but sadly made very little impact on me. It has just Reid singing accompanied by a piano for most of the track. It's probably the weakest point in the album in my opinion, but every album has to have one I suppose.
The final track also shares it's name with the album, 'If you wait'. It's slow and gentle. It swells slowly in the middle and then fades away until it's only the strings guiding you to the close of the album.
This album is a masterclass of the philosophy that less is more. It's beautifully worked and structured and produced brilliantly. However my main fault with this album is that the tracks that are a little bit more varied just end up sounding boring in comparison to the four and five better one's.
In short, this is an excellent debut, one of the best for a while. Perhaps not as good as the XX's debut but not too far away. I'm not quite sure it's a five star album, but definitely worth 4.5 stars. I look forward to see if they can take this sound forwards and produce more great albums.
Hauntingly beautiful, nocturnal, music to chill out to - no matter how you perceive London Grammar's sound, this is an easy CD to like and one that stays in your mind.
The quality of Hannah Reid's voice is immediately transfixing; a classic, deep-toned mezzo in range with an artlessly unaffected style - she sings with her natural accent and doesn't over-decorate. With excellent diction in delivering the words, she possesses a commanding maturity of sound for her years; when I first heard her I though I was listening to the versatile and much respected June Tabor - it's heartening to discover a young singer of this quality enjoying popularity with such a wide listenership.
The trio's music is very nicely conceived; electronica, perhaps, (why bother labelling it?) but utterly timeless. A basic keyboards and electric/acoustic guitar line-up, slightly melancholic - but never gloomy - the songs are varied and with plenty of melodic value; lyrically pleasing if not exactly profound, but Reid could sing the yellow pages and make it feel like poetry.
The deluxe version is definitely the one to go for; the six extra songs - including "Help Me Lose My Mind" with Disclosure - are well worth the extra pound or so if you're buying the CD. No Lyrics are included, so if the MP3 download is your preference you won't miss out - the lyrics are easily found on the internet anyway.
This is a fine debut album and the band's music seems to be popping up all across the media right now - I just hope over-exposure doesn't blunt enthusiasm for their next release.
on 19 February 2014
London Grammar's album 'If You Wait' is a spectacular debut release.
We tend to use other artists as comparatives, yet it's not always an accurate measure.
I would personally say that 'If you Wait' is better than The XX's self-titled album or on par with Arctic Monkey's 'Whatever People Say I am' but it'd be all down to personal experience.
I think that Rothman's guitar and Major's percussion creates an eloquent and haunting platform in which Reid's voice soars to emotional highs. It sounds like an early and experimental album with commonly raw feeling, and yet it also has elements of refinement - as if a fourth or fifth album.
I was mesmerised by their collective talent and think it's a genre-defining moment for indie-electronic crossover.
I think they'd be hard pushed to create something so strong next time around.
Great album, highly recommend.
on 15 November 2013
Fantastic vocals and great musicianship mesh perfectly to create an incredible ambient and ethereal sound, and wonderful mixing makes this a fantastic debut album. If you like the singles then you won't be disappointed by the rest of the album, and nothing feels like it has been tacked on or added to pad it out. The singles represent the album fantastically, showing the huge range that Hannah Reid's voice can cover from an almost whisper to huge soaring vocals and back again. The rest of the album is just as impressive, if not more so in places, and 'Shyer' and 'Sights' especially have to be two of my favourite songs overall.
Hannah Reid's Florence-esque vocals definitely form the centre piece of the band, but the rest of their sound is equally as impressive. Every note and sound adds something more and seems carefully chosen and considered, and they've really mastered the 'less is more' philosophy, never seeming to over complicate anything or include anything that isn't needed. The extra time they put into writing and fine tuning this album really shows through in the final product.
Overall, I would highly recommend this album to anyone, especially if you've already heard a song or two and liked what you heard. I look forward to seeing what they produce in the future.
It is also worth noting that the couple of pounds extra for the Deluxe edition is definitely worth it, and the extra songs are equally as fantastic. 'Maybe' is probably one of my favourite songs on the whole cd, and some of the songs have a quite different, more upbeat sound to them than the rest of the album. Definitely worth a listen for any fan.
on 5 November 2013
I first heard London Grammar on the radio and her voice blew me way. I started telling my friends about them. It has an incredible resonance, a bit of Florence,a bit of Goldfrapp and a bit of originality. A beautiful beautiful album,every track is incredible, I hope they go on to make many more.
on 26 October 2015
An album filled with haunting, fragile music. Although the single "Strong" is by now very well known, it is hardly the best track on this wonderful album, and only gives an incling of the capabilities of this band. "If You Wait" is at its best when the band goes beyond the reliance on the amazing vocals of lead singer Hannah Reid for effect, and creates a mash-up of electronica and song that is accompanied by poetic lyricism. Although the band may encounter fierce competition from acts like Daughter and Beach House due to the shoe-gaze nature of the overal feel of the album, it is my opinion that London Grammar is more innovative and offers a more layered listening experience than Daughter and feels less repetitive than genre creating Beach House.
on 18 September 2013
'If You Wait' is the début album from London Grammar.
London Grammar are made up of three members: Hannah Reid (singing), Dot Major and Dan Rothman (Production). Comparisons to the XX are inevitable but I would say that Tracey Thorn or even Florence work better as vocal benchmarks.
This is a stunning album. You will read many reviews here suggesting many of the thoughts you would get if you just listened to 'Hey Now' or 'Waisting My Young Years' just once. Yet whilst I certainly enjoyed the album and would recommend it I would just like to be honest about how I feel after this release.
'If You Wait' is an excellent record - but in my eyes will certainly be filed under 'Overrated'; evocative in its emotional delivery but worn slightly thin by a lack of diversity in its approach and by an excessively overblown wait since they broke on the blogosphere. Their first track 'Hey Now' is a case in point - this first broke out some time in late 2012. In itself it is a fantastic track and justifiably sent ripples through social networks, but the ensuing wait of almost a year until the full release led to the band becoming so well known that it almost lost its cool and hip shine that a new unknown band tends to carry - this takes nothing away from the quality of the track but 'Hey Now' became overplayed. By the time I went to see them at Bestival a couple of weeks ago they had a following that was bigger than most of the headline acts - based on the merits of three Soundcloud tracks.
Whilst the rest of the album is sumptuously executed there are no surprises and overall the album takes no risks. They have a formula and they have stuck very firmly to it. It's nice to be handed a little diversity in a début, regardless of the hype.
on 27 September 2014
I don't take much notice of a lot of the new pop / chart music that comes out these days; shows like X Factor have flooded the scene with cheap knock-off, soon forgotten filler.
A complete turnoff for anyone over the age of 12.
But every now and then a thoroughly decent act emerges worthy of the attention of even the most jaded music lover. A chance hearing of a London Grammar single on a station I wouldn't normally have on, literally caused me to stop what I was doing and just.. listen. I loved it. The album become a must-have buy on the strength of that single, and maybe one other. Having now listened to it many, many times, I can honestly say it is one of my standout music purchases of recent years. Hannah Reid's soaring vocals are utterly sublime; this girl has a hell of a voice, and the guys on instruments are just as creative and talented. The compositions clearly have had a lot of thought go into them. The pedigree of the production team is evident with clean, balanced, beautifully crafted arrangements. As another reviewer pointed out "less is more" and that is one of the album's main strengths. There's not a bad song on the album, not even an average one in my opinion, but my favourites are Wasting My Young Years, If You Wait, Strong, and Help Me Lose My Mind (collaboration with dance act Disclosure).
Amazing first effort. These guys deserve to go far.
London Grammar's debut album 'If You Wait' is perfect music to curl up and relax to, but be sure not to play it at a party if you want your guests up on the floor and feeling ecstatic.
The band's singer Hannah Reid has a beautiful, crystal-clear voice, very deep, haunting, and mesmerising. The guitarist Dan Rothman is also terrific, and Dominic Major can certainly play the keyboard. This three piece band have a similar sound to Florence + the Machine, but also have their own touch of originality to make them stand out. This is a very talented trio of young people, but from the video footage I've seen of them, they seem quite endearingly humble and shy of the spotlight. They deserve to do well though, and they have, 'If You Wait' has been a world-wide success, just missing the top spot in the UK.
This album's sound, feel, and subjects are mostly very sad and melancholic, but with very good songs that are tuneful and varied. From the very first play I found it to be a soothing listen, and particularly well produced. My favourite tracks are the bittersweet and atmospheric 'Strong', the equally appealing 'Metal & Dust', and the painfully beautiful 'Wasting My Young Years'.
This is dream-pop music at it's most enchanting, and I look forward to hearing what London Grammar come up with next, because this is a stunning first attempt at putting an album together.