Sophomore albums are somewhat tricky. There’s always that added pressure to deliver something novel that adds to an act’s artistry. But if the follow-up to London Grammar’s splendid debut If You Wait is any indication, why fix something that isn’t broken?
When this English trio broke into the scene in 2013, the members – vocalist Hannah Reid, guitarist Dan Rothman and percussionist Dominic “Dot” Major – championed muted grandeur in an age of Adele-esque emotional bombast. That trait is very much preserved, if not amplified, on this record.
That gorgeous cinematic soundscape runs through this 18-track collection. Granted, the mellow subject matters and even mellower melodies require patience to sit through. But the sombre and steady momentum do result in timeless torch songs.
The beautifully lush lead single Big Picture is a prime example of that template working perfectly. With its ethereal production and Reid’s evocative vocals, the song is easily a standout in a sea of reverb-drenched tracks.
Another highlight – which follows in the vein of Big Picture’s atmospheric flourishes – is the dark and brooding Hell To The Liars. Here, the frontwoman’s majestic vocals lead in to soaring instrumental layers.
For the most part, the English outfit relies on epic instrumentation to deliver the punch. Sublimely crafted gems like the stomping Non Believer and the stirring Oh Woman Oh Man makes the languorous build-up worth all the time in the world.
London Grammar thrives on a lush and expansive sound. And that, in itself, is such a beautiful thing.
Truth Is A Beautiful Thing