The foundations of their sound haven’t actually changed very much at all, with the driving force being lead singer Elena Tonra’s piercing, beautiful voice, her powerful lyrics and charmingly melodic folky guitar parts. However their sound has been expanded, with a move from acoustic to electric, as well as the growing role of the deep, rumbling guitar parts of Igor Haefelli and the pounding percussion of Remi Aguilella. The result of all this is a uniquely emotive sound that creates wintry soundscapes with overlapping, reverb-soaked layers. Almost each one of the 10 songs on this record builds, swells, rises, and falls, while Tonra glues it all together with her incredible delivery.
If You Leave may only contain about 6 totally new songs but the group push the boundaries with reworkings of old songs, like ‘Tomorrow’, ‘Shallows’, and their most famous track to date – ‘Youth’. It is in ‘Youth’ that Tonra perhaps reaches her lyrical pinnacle with the violent imagery of ‘And if you're still breathing, you're the lucky ones / 'Cause most of us are heaving through corrupted lungs / Setting fire to our insides for fun’. The themes and issues tackled by Tonra are consistently dark, whether it be decay, failed relationships, or even abortion. Her recurring metaphors combining nature and death are particularly powerful.
The emotive nature of this album is probably its defining feature, with the songs conveying anguish, despair and isolation, and even at times forming apocalyptic-sounding atmospheres. It is quite astonishing the amount of power the trio create when their songs build, and the swirling, echoing soundscapes are chilling, with beautiful final track ‘Shallows’ perhaps the best reflection of this and therefore the highlight of the record.
If You Leave is hypnotic in its melancholy beauty, consistent yet adequately varied and engaging, and most importantly, able to effortlessly convey emotion. This is mainly due to the immense talent of Elena Tonra, who will undoubtedly lead Daughter onto very, very big things in the future.