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Daughter

The brainchild of indie-folk singer/musician Elena Tonra, DAUGHTER the trio (complemented by guitarist/bassist Igor Haefeli and sticksman Remi Aguilella) have most certainly made their mark on an industry obsessed by lapdance-pop. Atmospheric and almost ambient in execution, her lyrics embody a wonderment of whispered word-play that suggest her difficulties going through kidulthood.
Elena first initiated a career as an acoustic solo artist in 2009, performing around her North London locale and creating her own myspace slot for her `Your Kisses’ track. Roping in the aforementioned Neuchatel-born Haefeli (also straight from London’s Institute of Contemporary Music Performance) to accompany her at gigs, DAUGHTER was conceived officially when the pairing delivered their `His Young Heart’ EP, in spring 2011. Ethereal and emotional (think a sonic THIS IS THE KIT sharing bedsit space with MEG BAIRD), one track in particular stood out: `Candles’.
A deal with Communion Records and EP No.2, `The Wild Youth’, saw the introduction of drummer/percussionist Remi Aguilella, which opened up their sound for expansion (check out `Youth’). Subsequent sessions on For Folk’s Sake and Huw Stephens (at BBC Radio 1), respectively, encouraged the trio to keep their amalgam running in this format, while Elena and Igor officially became a couple in the process. Inking a deal at 4 a.d. Records (Glassnote in the US), airplay between summer-winter 2012 for `Smother’, led to an appearance on the prestigious David Letterman Show.
2013’s IF YOU LEAVE {*8} impressed reviewers from both sides of the Big Pond and, while it clinched a place in the UK Top 20, the record dented the US Top 100. Autumnal and austere, balancing Elena’s ethereal meditations with the group’s slow-burning shoegazing, each cathartic track dealt with brittle heartbreak and intense intimacy; if there was hope out of despair it came in `Tomorrow’, `Human’, the 7-minute `Shallows’, and the aforesaid singles.
Missing from action for a few years (if one excluded a “4AD Session” and a 12-inch 45 shared/swapped with WARPAINT), DAUGHTER resumed their melancholic mission on a Brooklyn-cut sophomore set, NOT TO DISAPPEAR (2016) {*8}. With relatively identical results chart-wise despite their short absence, the trio’s global appeal touched the hearts and minds of Europe and beyond. Echoing an early-80s alt-rock appendage on the likes of `Numbers’, `Doing The Right Thing’, `Alone – With You’, the speedy `No Care’ and the multi-layered `How’, Elena/DAUGHTER dug deep from her darkened dormancy to rise above the pulpit of today’s mediocrity.
© MC Strong/MCS Jan2016

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