For fans of: The XX, Lana Del Rey and chilled out pop electronica.
I’m not a big fan of hype. Perhaps that’s just my cynical side shining through, but upon hearing that there’s a hotly tipped new band I tend to dismiss such claims as meaningless jargon. Such was the case with London Grammar and their debut album If You Wait, which had suggestions of award nominations before the album had even surfaced.
However, by the 30 second mark of opener Hey Now there was no denying that the hype was perhaps the best deserved hype of recent years. The track, as is the case with the album as a whole, comprises of perfectly poised clean guitar lines, soaring melodies and beats that cause you to groan at just how seamlessly the flow wtih the tracks . It’s as if the XX met Lana Del Rey, only better.
The band, along with the team of four (yes that’s four) guys that produced and mixed If You Wait have done a spectacular job, resulting in an album that is a near faultless piece of chilled out pop music. It is perfectly balanced, each track slotting together to create a fantastic listen from beginning to end – something that is all too often overlooked in this, an age that seems so focussed on producing singles. It’s a merit to the band that it’s so difficult to pick out individual tracks as each one has it’s own little bit of magic within it. Pushed to choose, Stay Awake breaks in with a fantastic drum beat, and ends with a catchy chorus vocal, all via a fantastic little guitar riff and Metal and Dust builds emphatically, layering up throughout the song, culminating in a repetitive chorus that jams in your mind. With soaring vocals and an accompanying string section, it ends with what is the most intense point of the album.
The whole album has the sense that there is no rush – it seems to be the musical expression of the saying ‘it’s not the ending, but the journey that matters the most’. In this does also come one concern, that there is very little in the way of climax throughout the album. Not the most pressing of issues on this occasion, it will present itself a challenge for future offerings, as the band will have to work seriously hard to top this record.