If You Wait is the debut album from London art rock trio London Grammar, and boy, we have waited. They first popped up last December, when they posted their debut single ‘Hey Now’ online, and next came the beautiful Metal & Dust EP in February. By the time ‘Wasting My Young Years’ was released in June, the band had gathered quite a following, so it was no surprise when the track reached 31 in the UK top 40. And now, finally, their debut album is ready, and it’s truly been worth the wait.
Starting with their first single, the glorious ‘Hey Now’, you instantly get a sense of what a special album this is. With Hannah Reid’s powerful voice totally commanding the listener from the first cry of ‘hey now’; her strong, brooding vocals soaring over the quiet jittery guitars and soft drumbeats, it proves that you don’t have to be loud and flamboyant to be completely captivating. Reid’s vocals are consistently striking throughout, and this is added to by her open and raw lyrics. Her voice has been compared to everybody from Adele to Florence Walsh; but I feel her resonant sound is unique. The comparisons are probably due to the fact it’s such a strong female voice, and although there are technical similarities, the tone and style are distinctive to Reid in her own right.
With some albums, it’s the singles that stand out as the strongest tracks, and although ‘Wasting My Young Years’, ‘Metal and Dust’ and current single ‘Strong’ are all stunning, they don’t command the attention of the record; each track is an entity in itself. ‘Sights’ is an outstanding track, with emotive, raw lyrics, that are only added to by Reid’s rich vocals. ‘Nightcall’ features simplistic piano playing throughout, which is a change from their stylistic synth-y use of instrumentation, showing the bands range, and the ‘drop’ when they do use the synths is sublime.
‘Flickers’ features syncopated drum rhythms that lends the track its frantic feel, which fits with the songs lyrics. A slightly different style for the band, yet still an amazing result none-the less. It’s a true festival song, which will no doubt be going down a treat this summer. Closer, and album namesake ‘If You Wait’, is completely entrancing. Reid’s vocals are hypnotising, soaring above the instruments with complete fluidity and control. The use of strings just add to the power behind the song, and as the track fades out you’re truly left wanting more.
Throughout the album only gets stronger and stronger, and there truly isn’t a bad track on the record. It’s totally gorgeous, and one of those rare albums that you just want to sit and listen to. Put this on as background music and you’ll stop what you’re doing, it’s that powerful. With an offering like this London Grammar should prepare themselves, as they’ve got quite the journey ahead of them.