London Grammar are one of those bands who sound best while sitting on a leather couch, sipping a glass of scotch next to a flickering fire with the winter winds roaring outside (glass of scotch optional).
On their debut, If You Wait, the Nottingham trio combine ambient piano, melancholy guitar and a truly unique vocal performance by the adorable Hannah Reid.
With the aid of Reid’s vocals, the band strives to be more powerful than The xx (tick), more sophisticated than Florence & The Machine (tick), and 1000 times better than Lana Del Rey (double tick).
At their best, London Grammar are intimate, eerie, and mysterious.
Yet as much as they strive to be pure, the songs follow such a familiar structure that they sometimes stagnate. And unfortunately, even the ethereal vocals of Reid can’t resuscitate them.
Coasting from the internet-conquering opener ‘Hey Now’ to the break-up ballad ‘Wasting My Young Years’, you will leave If You Wait either extremely sexed-up or extremely bored.
But there are rare occasions when Reid’s vocals and the instrumental accompaniments by Dan Rothman and Dot Major combine to perfection. It’s undeniably emotional when it occurs, as shown in an unexpected cover of Kanvinsky’s ‘Nightcall’.
With If You Wait a product of 18 painstaking months in the studio, London Grammar are nothing if not perfectionists.
But as fun as it is to try and sing along to Reid’s falsetto, what could have been a heart-shattering record ends up leaving the listener wanting.