Daughter – Music From Before The Storm Review

Since the early seventies, video games soundtracks have rung in the heads of gamers, making tracks either feel endearingly familiar or on occasion deeply annoying – depending on your, or your consoles, ability to finish a level. Though a lot has changed since pixelated beeping attempted to give young child migraines. Games have become cinematic epics with mass appeal, and their sound tracks have been increasing crafted to pull at your heartstrings as well as increase you stress levels, weaving, hopefully, perfectly into story lines, sometimes becoming the key element in creating the atmosphere of a game. 

Unsurprisingly in a market rich in possibilities UK-based indie folk band Daughter have turned their hand at sound-tracking the second edition of the episodic Deck Nine/Square Enix (Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy) adventure ‘Life Is Strange: Before The Storm.’ The result, new album ‘Music Before The Storm’, has a few tracks that are the kind of sentimental, ethereal work that might just have the ability to enchant beyond the small screen.  

Opener ‘Glass’ starts things off subtly in the depths of some far off ocean, or perhaps with a heartbeat like percussion some womb-like scenario would be a better description of the effect, as the track transcends into life before a drifting vocal line shrouds the instrumental in an angelic charm. 

Things continue to drift with a chilled in the air as lead single ‘Burn It Down’ gives things a ‘Florence And The Machine’ melancholy but brilliantly dark atmosphere. Much of the album is heavily centred on emotional turmoil, fitting with the games lead character, sixteen-year-old Chole Price, focusing on some weighty issues, something Daughter are not ones to shy away from.

Fragile tracks like ‘Flaws’ and the shadowy music box-like ‘Improve’ begin with the most delicate piano lines you could imagine before continuing their ethereal, nostalgic tone, as waves of instrumentation push you forwards into the next track. 

‘Hope’ has a sparkling subtly that shimmers as guitar lines layer with faint urgency. Singer Elena Tonra vocal murmurs on ‘The Right Way Around’ glide over Igor Haefeli’s grunge-eqsue guitar riff, creating an earthiness within the track.’Witches’ is predictably haunting and much like ‘Departure’ and ‘I Can’t Live Here Anymore’ follow the pattern of fragility mixed with an undercurrent of pain and hope in quiet, sorrowful instrumentals.

‘All I Wanted’ and ‘Voices’ have a heavy feel of nostalgia. There’s an air of Bat For Lashes in these and the hectic, disheartened whirlpool of ‘Dreams Of William’ that makes them captivating, like watching the rain or the light through trees for a while nothing much seems to happen but you realise you’ve lost your self for a few minutes: ‘feeling alone with you’. Closer ‘A Hole In The Ground’ swells with sadness and aching bones; ‘you were flaunting all your open wounds, I can’t express them better you.’ 

Released ahead of the bands shows with equally emotionally heavy ‘The National’ ‘Music Before The Storm’ might not be introducing a new sound to Daughter’s subtle and emotive catalogue but with a feel of introverted self-exploration, the band seems to be the perfect partner to ‘Life Is Strange’.

Daughter – Music From Before The Storm = 7/10

Hayley Miller

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