Daughters – self-titled

Daughters - self-titledReleased all the way back in March, Daughters has already required a reputation – not only as a standout album but also as the record that broke the band which wrote it. After recording but before release guitarist Nick Sadler and bassist Samuel Walker left the band, leaving vocalist Alexis Marshall and drummer Jon Syverson with the name and a record that singer Lex claims to not be too happy with. Each member and ex-member of the band has their own take on the situation, and I’ve no desire to shit-stir, but the gist of the situation is that Lex felt that a lot of the material written by Sadler was too commercial – and once disagreements came to a head the band dissolved.

So, this album will never be gigged or toured, and wherever Daughters go from here it won’t sound like this. Which makes this album special, especially as it’s so very, very good.¬†The first word to be used when describing it is “intense”. Some others that you might throw in are “big”, “brash”, “sharp”, and perhaps “borderline demented”. It’s a big shift away from the fret-spazzing technical¬†grindcore of 2003’s Canada Songs and, to my ears at least, a huge leap into fresh new territory – there’s nothing I’ve heard that sounds quite like this record. Throughout, the colossal-sounding drums and the brutally low-end bass drive a rhythm that segues between the march of some sinister army and the one-two back and forth of traded drunken punches. The guitars shift rapidly between heavy chugs, squealing tremolo and high-speed fret-tapping. Topping it all off are vocals, typically delivered at a sedate pace, with a sinister edge that wraps this disturbing but brilliant package together into a ferociously weird whole.

With only eight tracks on offer it’s not a lengthy release, but all eight clock in at a decent length that’s a far cry from the one-minute blasts of Daughters’ past releases. Highlights have to include ‘The Hit’, one of many songs with a relentlessly pounding rhythm but also one peppered with sinister telephonesque voices buried in the mix of synth, squalling guitar and abrupt jerks back into chugging territory, and ‘Sweet Georgia Bloom’ which is about as close as Daughters are likely to get to writing a song you can dance to. My favourite, though, is ‘Our Queens (One is Many, Many is One)’, which boasts crazy handclaps, excellent runs along the fretboard and plenty of high-speed leaps between the top and the base of the guitar’s neck. I wish I could write and play songs like that.

I don’t know what you’d categorise Daughters as and I don’t care. It’s a superb record and you owe it to yourself to listen to it.

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