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.
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.
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 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 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.
I discovered this band when I heard 'Metal & Dust' during an episode of 'Beauty & The Beast' and was immediately drawn to the voice of Hannah Reid and the power of the melody. I then discovered a cover version of Chris Issak's 'Wicked Game' on the latest Dermot O'Leary Saturday Sessions compilation album and I loved what they did with it. A sparce sound (there are only three of them) that will always sound great live too. No over-production here, thank God.
So when I saw their debut album available for only £5.99 on Amazon (with auto-rip) I couldn't resist it and took a leap of faith. I am so glad that I did. I have listened to it contantly ever since on my computer and, when the CD arrived the next day, in the car too. It is just such a beautiful album. For me, the most important aspects in the music I like to listen to are melody and emotion. I don't necessarily need variety as long as it's not samey. This debut is full of great melodies and I can honestly say there are no weak tracks. It's one of those 'hairs standing up on the back of your neck jobs. 'Metal and Dust' is the most well known track I think and my concern was that it was going to turn out to be head and shoulders above the rest, but that's not the case. I love the overall melanchony nature of it (inevitable when hearing Hannah's voice) but when the beats kick in as well, you have a perfect recipe. My favourite tracks are the opening track 'Hey Now', 'Wasting My Young Years', 'Strong' and the title track as well as the aforementioned' Metal & Dust' but it really is excellent from start to finish.
I will be watching out for this band and waiting for their next offering with baited breath. In the meantime, I think this recording is not likely to be far from my CD/MP3 player.
Having heard an acoustic version of 'Strong' on Dermot O'Leary in August, I was quite taken with London Grammar, and sought them out on Soundcloud, and was totally blown away. The full album is superb, evocative, emotional, moody... takes me back to to my youth listening to moody art rock with Peel and Jensen on late night Radio 1. Hannah Reid's voice is rightly being touted as the standout feature of the band - she can hold it back and understate or let rip, shifting gears in a couple of bars sometimes, but she is not just technique, her voice has heart.
The arrangements and production are equally impressive, and underpinning it all is some very good song writing. 'Strong' is a great single,'Help', 'Hey Now' and 'Metal & Dust' are also really strong and evocative, and I am rather fond of the gentle build and climatic finale of 'Interlude', but the standout song is without a doubt 'Wasting my Young Years', with Hannah Reid evoking an early Judie Tzuke, but building to a Florence Welch-like crescendo without over doing it or losing the emotional core of the song; its theme of wasted love could equally speak of the wasted years of a generation stuck in a cycle of 80's style joblessness. It's one of those pieces that will become an anthem.
Definitely one to watch
on 5 October 2015
Wonderful debut album from London Grammar. Hannah Reid's vocals are breathtakingly haunting. The tracks "Wasting my young years" and "Strong" are standouts. This deluxe version features some bonus tracks, the pick of the bunch being a collaboration with Disclosure - "Help me lose my mind" is an electronic/dance track fused with Hannah's wonderful vocal performance which seems to fit this genre of music perfectly. Can't wait for their next release.
on 23 May 2014
Apart from the quality of the vocals, perhaps the most striking thing about this album is how well it has been produced and recorded. It really is top notch. Open and airy sounding you can hear all the notes - not over mushed like a lot can be.
So what is it like? It's not really like any of them as such, but I figure if you like Enya, Kate Bush and similar you will like this. Luckily Amazon have test tracks - check for yourself.
Be aware there are two versions of the album - standard and deluxe. Six extra tracks on the latter and all pretty much as good as the rest and not alternative versions etc, so worth the extra in my view. If you like it at all and you get the 11 track you will be left wanting more and kicking yourself.
One negative is for those who have a sub-woofer with really low extension - on track 1 it will be flapping like nothing on earth even at moderate volumes, never mind high volumes. Pictures were jangling off my wall - through the whole track there is an artificial sub-sonic rumble. One blot in the otherwise faultless production.
The vocal is very strong and distinctive - It's what makes the Album but I guess you could tire of it over time - and the tracks are quite similar because of it. But this really is being picky and looking for holes.