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

Single Review – Kanye West featuring Paul McCartney – Only One

When it was announced that Kanye West was working on new material, not many would have guessed that following the likes of Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams and JayZ in working on new material for Kanye would be Sir Paul McCartney. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise considering McCartney’s career and the nature of it. He’s effortlessly graced every generation since the 1960’s, from The Beatles, Wings, duets with Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder to EDM DJ Bloody Beetroots, he’s fronted Nirvana and after scoring several films and a ballet he’s recently scored the Destiny video game. The track ‘Only One’ is a gentle and lapping track by Kanye’s standards and is an intimate and personal track that’s about family close to him from his Mother to his daughter. Such personal and intimate lyrics require music to compliment and respect it them and calling upon McCartney to help capture that was a wise move from Kanye. This is brought about by the soft, nudging organs and a more subtle auto-tune upon his vocal that is a little less ridiculous than it has been in the past. The chorus still gives way to a refined piece of joyousness with McCartney’s electronically charged backing vocal. It’s a close and emotional song, but one that builds up to more happier climbs too. Though his credibility as an out and out musician may always but questioned; Kanye West’s ability to produce a well made and layered track is becoming less questionable.

Single Review – Paul McCartney – Hope For the Future

Paul McCartney continues to upturn any rock he can find for a new project and his latest effort was helping score the soundtrack for the video game Destiny after providing a few samples including a new single ‘Hope For the Future’ which is out today along with a spectacular video. For the single he talked of aiming for a more “cinematic” approach to match the visuals provided by the game. The string sections provide that throughout to vary degrees; from the delicate combinations with acoustic riffs to linking them to crash percussion and well charged guitar solos. The song goes on to fade to Paul’s lone vocal before soaring to a full compliment of instrumentals to only go on to highlight the dramatics of the track. It’s an effective arrangement for McCartney who ensured his well worn vocals were well up to the task as he swapped the synthesizers and guitars of last year for the string orchestras of 2014 and it’s something that he pulled off pretty damn well.