I had an hour to kill before taking a train and a friend called to say he was going to see a band instore at Rough Trade East and did I want to join him?
I said I’ll see what I can do…
I’m glad I did too, because the band we saw were London Grammar who released their debut album last week. I had never heard them before. They played a brief 30 minute set in front of a large crowd in a hot and very busy store. They were very impressive, and the album now sits at number two in this week’s UK album charts. Who’d have thought it?
Let’s give you my first impressions:
The music has the minimalism of The XX, but a bit more oomph and the voice of Florence and the Machine with a bit less oomph; There’s a song that reminds me of Massive Attack‘s “Teardrops” (and that’s a great song); There’s a nice Kid A era Radiohead-esque piano in there too; The vocals are spine-chillingly good; The guy who plays the keyboards and drums is creating some beautiful soundscapes.
Not content with bringing you a few formative thoughts, however, I have spent literally moments researching London Grammar to give you more reasons to seek them out yourself. Here’s what I found:
- Consisting of Hannah Reid (vocals, 23), Dan Rothman (sparse and pretty guitar sounds, 23) and Dot Major (keyboard, drums, djembe, sometimes on the same track, 22) London Grammar met at Nottingham University.
- They collaborated with Disclosure on the latter’s #1 album.
- They’ve only just released their first album. What more do you want?
Although I think Dot Major might be the musical mastermind behind their cinematic sound, the most immediate quality to London Grammar’s sound is Reid’s voice, which is pretty special. Doubtless this is what the Neanderthals at Radio One meant when they described her on Twitter as being “fit”. (See this story for full details – Reid then joked that “it was so hot in store that she wanted to wear her swim suit – although perhaps after what happened at Radio One it might not be such a good idea to say so”).
But the band manage to tread a fine line between being restrained and urgent in their approach. It’s a fascinating and attractive sound, and you should check them out: here’s the video for “Strong”.
Record #234: London Grammar – Strong