Daughter Returns on ‘Stereo Mind Game’ to Deliver a Reflective New Indie Album (Review)

The name Daughter is familiar to anyone who was on Tumblr in the early 2010s. Their song ‘Youth‘ took the internet by storm. It was part of multiple AMV-style fan edits of the video game, Life is Strange. It was also covered by a young up-and-coming Little Simz for BBC 1Xtra’s Live Lounge. Elena Torna’s hushed vocals sang ‘If you’re still breathing, you’re the lucky one’. This was then played to a millennial audience longing for connection. Her hushed vocals, describing loss and love certainly connected with an audience. This is probably the reason they wrote and performed large portions of the soundtrack to Life is Strange: Before the Storm.

Returning with their third studio album, the three members of Daughter, frontwoman Tonra, guitarist Igor Haefeli, and drummer Remi Aguilella come with a more retrospective LP. With an intro of discordant strings, the audience is given a moment to reflect on imperfect times. Daughter’s music sounds like the soundtrack to an apocalypse. It takes moments of loneliness and honing them down to an edge of somber reflection. 

The first track ‘Be On Your Way’ is expansive in scope. Here, Daughter brings reverb-heavy pianos and an orchestral line that feels reminiscent of their debut record. On the song, time passes, each moment forming a kind of ennui that each track carries. However, ‘Party’ feels more akin to a late 2000’s indie cut song, with a thrumming guitar that signposts the track. It’s proving to be one of the most popular songs on the album due to it being one of the most unique on the tracklist. Retelling the night that Elena gave up alcohol she describes it as ‘classical’. However, this description has more relation to Snow Patrol than Bach. It’s an oddly effective left turn quite early on the project. Unfortunately, it is the only turn. 

In contrast, the rest of the material falls back on the style of tracks that deal with grief and love. The sound of this album feels overly “safe” although there are some wonderful standouts. ‘Junkmail’ has a real beat to it whilst discordant plucked strings run through it. Furthermore, the whole song builds and becomes an ode to lockdown in some ways. ‘Future Lover’ opens with a harsh synth over rapid snares that concerns lying awake and thinking about a lover. ‘(Missed Calls)’ is also discordant and made entirely out of strings and dissonant voices. This serves as an interlude to the final tracks. 

To conclude, ‘Stereo Mind Game‘ is as if The Barbican were an album and that is not a bad thing. The songs are expansive, reflective, and very well crafted but there is a sense of emptiness and hollowness that allows you to reflect on your own thoughts. This is their appeal, with Reddit user Concordia saying of Daughter’s music that ‘Their music touches places that you don’t show other people’. Moreover, ‘Stereo Mind Game‘ blends together a little too well, with its interludes only setting it apart. Really ‘Be On Your Way’ is almost a distillation of the album. Here, memories don’t stick, they just shuffle onto the next one. However, the experience of them is more than pleasant. 

Daughter is on Instagram and Twitter.

Make sure to check out more reviews from us including the new EP from ZUKI.

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