Daughter’s second full-length album, Not To Disappear, takes a sharp turn from lead singer Elena Tonra’s somber musings about broken relationships heard in the band’s first album, If You Leave. One of the breakout singles on the new album, “Doing The Right Thing,” deals with the loss of selfhood during dementia. Tonra softly sings, “Then I’ll lose my children. Then I’ll lose my love. Then I’ll sit in silence,” in the refrain of the song before guitarist Igor Haefeli lapses into another resounding, plaintive melody.
Without a doubt, dementia is not an alluring subject, but Daughter manages to pull listeners in and surround them fully in song. Although the band’s first album received a great deal of acclaim, constant litanies on the anguish in human relationships can grow old. However, the band’s exploration of the loss of self in a relationship strikes a common chord with the loss of self during dementia in this album. Not To Disappear adds a new dimension both to the band’s sound and the messages they are trying to convey to listeners.
“How” gives us a glimpse of a more upbeat Daughter track (or as upbeat as Daughter can get) by bursting into a wonderful conglomeration of guitar and drums at the onset of the song, continuing in short bursts throughout. The song explores a relationship gone wrong as Tonra sings, “Just moving in slow motion to keep the pain to a minimal. Weightless, only wait for a fall.”
In the middle of the album, “Mothers” provides a look into both the physical and emotional burdens of motherhood, which Tonra defines as “the provider of that constant sting they call love.” The tune is a stirring, melancholy outlook on having children until it picks up near the end with a surge of drumming from Remi Aguilella, who also shines in the anger-fueled “No Care.” In “No Care,” Aguilella plays in a fast, exciting way that perfectly complements the song’s brusque lyrics and quick rhythm. This type of rapid-fire percussion is also used effectively on “Numbers,” which amps up the intensity as the lyrics transition into the bridge.
Overall, Not To Disappear is a more powerful and aggressive record that allows for a confident sound. What Daughter has always accomplished best is a cold kind of misery, and they continue to perform on this album, whether it is in Haefeli’s smooth guitar melodies or Tonra’s raw lyrics. With their second album, Daughter’s messages ring out more poignantly than ever and provide the perfect playlist for a gloomy, wintry mood.
Voice’s Choices: “Numbers,” “How”