Daughter: “Stereo Mind Game” Album Review – Ethereal indie for indie cinema


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Rating: 4 out of 5.

The London trio [Elena Tonra, Igor Haefeli , Remi Aguilella] are back for their first in seven years with stereo mind game: A deep-dive into the separation of love.

Where were you goin’?
In deep?
Where were you, though
When we needed you most?

It’s been seven years since they last released a studio album under the umbrella of Daughter. Since a new direction in music soundtracking, Music Before The Storm in 2017, they’ve been keeping busy with their own solo pathing before coming together with stewy blow-out, Be On You Way, a Daughter staple of lonesome-indie that they’ve been stewing for some time.

Safe to say, with Stereo Mind Game, they’ve grown up. Wiping the mascara tears from their cheeks from their sorrowful debut in 2013, their new 2023 offering nestles out sorrow, instead of dwelling on it, wading through it all and accepting the bountiful fate it’s offered them: “And you won’t hold me back / We cannot quiet fade beneath the centre of the stage / So, I’ll meet you on another planet if the plans change.”

The album plays out like an open-ended relationship, a taut engagement between interpersonal connections before turning the spotlight onto yourself. There’s no brighter song on the album that expels this than Party. A continual wave of guitar arrangements met with a intricacy of candid lyricism is brought ahead with Tonra lost in her own introspective thoughts, while those “stereo mind game serenades” in her head. A true quarrel between one another, it brings an added depth to an otherwise airy album wrapped in on itself.

Neptune is at Daughter’s most beautiful, a seemingly simple arrangement swamped by Tonra’s velvet voice and Igor’s booming undertones, matching it to the hallmark soundscapes of Daughter we’ve all come to miss in the headspace of melancholic indie.

Swim Back is the first ladling of extra detail, a feeling of wading through the current with The 12 Ensemble recorded at South London studio – and former swimming spot – The Pool. Fitting for all those acoustics we hear; an ethereal yearning as both strings and Tonra look for a connection of a relationship, isolated through the midst of COVID lockdown. The industrial curvatures that enter this track can be also seen on a Radiohead track off the back of Kid A. This feeling of missing someone pervades the album. A feeling somewhat covered a lot in the anthems of ethereal indie; but everyone goes through heartbreak at least once in their lifetime: “I’d just need to erase distance / Find a hole in the ocean / Swim backwards

While Swim Back is the yearning angst, Junkmail is the realisation, the swampy curvature of someone who understands their role in a relationship going nowhere. Future Lover is a soft lullaby that draws comparisons to Oh Wonder, a genuine pondering of what the future holds all the while realising how better off we are on our own; “Now I’m getting from sweet nothings from a ghost in the room /Its so heavy when i think of you / We’re apart, it’s when I start, glowing in the dark.”

A perfectly stunning backdrop, you’d best brace yourself for Daughter to appear in those indie films once again this year.

North London native Elena Tonra is sticking to her roots this weekend by playing a hometown show with the rest of her companions at sold out Rough Trade East tonight in London (April 7th).

This is Daughter. This is Stereo Mind Game. Out now on Glassnote.

FFO: Lucy Rose, The Cinematic Orchestra, Oh Wonder.

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