Not To Disappear feels immediately like a full band record. For all its beauty, 2013’s If You Leave could, at times, feel merely like a vehicle for Elena Tonra’s vocals (not that this is in any way a negative thing), but there can be no such suggestion this time around. Right from opener “New Ways,” it becomes clear that Daughter have focused their efforts on expanding their sound, bringing in synths and electronic drums in a much more emphatic and deliberate way than before.
Tonra’s vocals are still as haunting as ever, but this time, they’re backed up waves of distortion and reverb from Igor Haefeli’s guitar and a crashing, vast drum sound from Remi Aguilella. The chorus on “Mothers,” for example, washes over you as Daughter create a soundscape that fills every gap. Where If You Leave allowed the space to create a stark atmosphere, Not To Disappear brushes over any empty spaces with texture, and the result is wonderful. “Fossa” provides the most confident Daughter song so far, with the sprawling outro signalling the clearest departure from their debut.
At no point does any of the growth feel forced. Daughter could have been forgiven for producing another album like their debut, but they took a brave step in embracing innovation. The beautiful Not to Disappear is their reward, and ours. (4AD)