If You Wait
London Grammar first came to notice stateside with their vocal turn on "Help Me Lose My Mind", a highlight from Disclosure's Settle. Their debut album is filled with spacious, reverb-heavy pop that sometimes brings to mind the xx and Portishead.
There's always an emotional urgency in Reid's vocals-- she doesn't do low stakes. When producer Dot Major and guitarist Daniel Rothman find that musical equivalent to Reid's reserved sense of theatrics, the results are devastating. "Wasting My Young Years" starts off austere and picks up steam as it races toward a climax that never arrives-- at the precise moment you'd expect the song to launch into the stratosphere, it's yanked back to earth, satisfying through its refusal to meet our expectations. "I don't know what you want, don't leave me hanging on," sings Reid as the song disintegrates into pieces, but this kind of thread-dangling is London Grammar's strong suit. They can conjure emotions without hammering you over the head with them-- on the autumnal "Strong", Reid sings of being "wide-eyed and I'm so damn caught in the middle," plotting coordinates where romantic idealism and reality meet to disastrous results.
If You Wait Review (7.1)