Granted, it’s early days to be talking about contenders for album of the year, but London post-indie rock trio Daughter have laid down a marker with their stunning sophomore album, the just-released Not To Disappear.
If You Leave, the band’s critically-acclaimed debut, earned them a huge following on its release back in 2013, and while their newbie offers no great change of direction from their signature sombre tone, it’s an album which sees them taking confident strides forward, both lyrically and sonically.
The group – consisting of singer Elena Tonra, Igor Haefeli and Remi Aguilella – started working on the new album after coming off a lengthy tour for their first record, and they spent a summer in New York recording with Nicolas Vernhes (Deerhunter, War On Drugs, Animal Collective) at his Rare Book Room studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
“We stopped touring as much, we rented a space, and put all of our instruments, microphones and equipment in this space and made it a writing and demo-ing situation,” says singer Tonra, speaking ahead of Daughter’s visit to the Queen’s Hall on Saturday night (Jan 23).
“It was great because we could go in at any hour we liked, and if we had any ideas, we could make them there.
“That was kind of the start of the process. Each song had a different way of coming about. In some, the music was written first, while others it was the lyrics.
“We didn’t want to overthink anything too much – we just wanted to, writing-wise, chuck out as many ideas as possible. It was really cool that we had a lot of different stuff going on in our heads.
“There were some tracks that were really far away from what we’ve done before, some that were really folky, and others that didn’t make it onto the records.”
Much was made of how hypnotic and melancholy the band’s debut album was (Daughter’s sound has been described as ‘Enya meets Eno’), but Tonra isn’t sure their newbie will have quite the same emotional effect on listeners.
“For me, there’s stuff that’s sad because it’s such a personal record. I’m not sure, if you’re the listener, if it’ll have the same effect,” she says.
“Our first record was maybe more emotional because it wasn’t really a breakup album, but it was that weird ‘pre-everything going to shit’ album.
“I think that sentiment was beautifully recognised by people saying I feel the same way.
“This record is a bit more aggressive and, lyrically, I think it’s a bit more straightforward. I don’t think there’s as much poetic license or hiding places within my lyrics. It’s quite direct about my feelings.”
Given the amount of praise they received for their first offering, Daughter would have been forgiven for worrying about the dreaded second album syndrome – although Tonra says they tried not to let it concern them.
“There’s this weird pressure also because our first album totally exceeded everything we expected,” she says. “We didn’t really think people would be as beautiful and kind about it as they were.
“For us, that was really surprising and amazing. Now, we’re going into the second album and trying not to compare it to the first album and seeing it as a completely new stage.
“If you have that outlet – and we shouldn’t confine ourselves to music or genre – it’s really great, because you can literally do whatever you want.”
Daughter, Queen’s Hall, Clerk Street, Saturday (Jan 23), doors 7pm, £17.50, 0131 668 2019