Daughter At Amoeba, Wednesday May 22nd 2013
The trio Daughter apologized for their ‘awkward entrance’ during their set at Amoeba on Wednesday night,… actually there wasn’t anything awkward, they had just arrived late, did the sound check right away, and without even doing a formal stage arrival, started their set of seven songs in front of a large crowd. So large, they were kind of surprised, guitarist Igor Haefeli, with wide eyes and a nice smile, said they didn’t expect that many people, but that was silly because their show at the Troubadour the same night had sold out quite fast. It must have been English week for Amoeba, as Daughter was the second band from across the pond (after Laura Marling on Monday) to take over the place and to charm young girls and boys with their atmospheric songs.
Daughter’s music was quiet and spacey, haunted by Elena Tonra’s ethereal high voice that sounded like a warm and wounded entity breathing melancholy, coating the place and affecting everyone’s mood. It wasn’t weird enough to sound like Bjork, and it wasn’t exactly Sinead O’ Connor, Kate Bush or PJ Harvey either, but there was a little bit of this same soothing heartbroken vibe emerging from her vocals, which were the main element of the music. With the help of Igor Haefeli’s delicate and reverb-echoing guitar, Remi Aguilella’s sparse, discreet and resonating drumming, the trio was building very atmospheric sonic textures around dark poetry, that could have been the foggy-windy soundscape of some classics such as Wuthering Heights.
‘Well this is torturous/Electricity between both of us /And this is dangerous/’cause I want you so much/But I hate your guts/I want you so much/But I hate your guts’ was crooning Elena in ‘Landfill’ the opening song of the set, setting up the darkness right away, then singing about lost love, reckless and wild youth, death, … the sort of lyrics that would make girls swoon! As a matter of fact, I heard a young one behind me say, ‘I am afraid I am going to be very emotional’ when she heard the first notes of ‘Candles’. She knew all the lyrics of the song, that may have been about some abusive relationship, ‘I’ll do whatever you say to me in the dark/Scared I’ll be torn apart by a wolf in mask’. I was actually paying much attention to their lyrics which were very audible above the quiet music, and the lyrics were full of an evocative poetry. Even though none of their songs had the bombastic side of Arcade Fire’s, there was a sort of lyrical parallel around dramatic themes like the fear of becoming something else when growing up in a doomed world, ‘And if you’re still bleeding, you’re the lucky ones/Cause most of our feelings, they are dead and they are gone’ in ‘Youth’ echoing the line ‘Now that I’m older/My heart’s colder’ of ‘Wake Up’.
Despite all this darkness and bleakness, the trio was very jovial, Elena Tonra was giggling all the time, and she thanked many times the crowd for ‘being so nice’. They have just released their first LP ‘If You Leave’, were signing copies after the show, and all these people in line had certainly perceived the emotional and painful beauty of Daughter’s songs.