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Review: “Music From Before the Storm”

Divya Jagadeesh, Editor-in-chief

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A little over a year since the release of their sophomore album “Not to Disappear,” British indie folk band Daughter have come back with their third work, “Music From Before the Storm.” This album — which is also the soundtrack for the video game, “Life is Strange: Before the Storm” — is starkly different from last year’s record and their 2013 debut, “If You Leave”; it’s intense in the opposite way, and dares to be more hopeful and unyielding, unlike the despair and desperation of Daughter’s previous records.

I had to mentally prepare myself before listening to this album. As a fan of Daughter since their debut, I am all too familiar with their impassioned music and its uncanny ability to stir up my emotions. I didn’t prepare myself for the correct emotions, though; instead of their old, frantic, dire music, “Music From Before the Storm” is more heartening and rousing than anything else. It could be because it was created with a fantasy world already in place, one that isn’t too dark, but I still did cry halfway through the first track, “Glass” — a great opening track that sets the bittersweet mood throughout the album.

Each song is different, so it seems to take you through different parts of life, or a video game. The audible difference from “Witches” to “Departure” is akin to finding a clearing after being in the woods for what seems like forever. It’s like hitting rock bottom, only to find a ladder leading you to some stairs. There are multiple emotions pictured in separate songs; “All I Wanted” is quiet anger, and “A Hole In the Earth,” my favorite track off the album, is forgiving and desperate for its scars to heal. Finally, the only song from the album the band posted the audio for, “Burn It Down” has Daughter’s trademark intensity, and it’s the track most similar to “Not to Disappear.”

The most apparent change in this album is the sparse lyrics. Most of the tracks are completely instrumental; some songs like “Hope” have lyrics sprinkled in, and “Burn It Down,” “All I Wanted” and “A Hole In the Earth” are the most notable ones that actually have lyrics. Despite the individual songs’ strength, the tracklist and what it contains make it feel as though most of the album is a transition between the four or five real songs on the album, which makes it feel much shorter than the 47-minute runtime.

Still, Daughter show their growth on this distinct, powerful album. They are beginning to widen their audience by undertaking different ventures. For its delicate melodies and assured themes, “Music Before the Storm” deserves an A.

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