2013 has birthed many innovative and interesting artists and musicians, perhaps the most exciting in terms of sheer potential is British trio London Grammar. Startling riffs and a unique sound sets them apart in the overly saturated market of ‘indie’.
The band met at the university of Nottingham when vocalist Hannah Reid and guitarist Dan Rothman lived in the same halls of residence whilst multi instrumentalist Dot Major joined the band slightly later after an introduction from Rothman’s girlfriend. The band formed and began penning tracks whilst performing at low key venues and bars.
At the end of 2012, the band released their very first track ‘Hey Now’, a tender and emotive ballad with a climatic bridge and operatic chorus. The video now has over 1.5 million views on YouTube. They followed this with the release of the Metal & Dust EP in February, the title track of which was picked up by Radio 1 DJ Greg James who showcased the band’s vibe on his popular show. This gained London Grammar a large amount of exposure and the song clocked over 600,000 views on the official audio video. The break out single ‘Wasting My Young Years’ debuted on YouTube on the 15th of May and the band were complimented on their intelligent cinematography and strong visual style; with three solid releases, London Grammar played 10 major European summer festivals including Glastonbury and Bestival.
2013 & Their Survival
With a well deserved amount of anticipation surrounding the debut LP If You Wait, and a powerful correlating single in the form of ‘Strong’, the release on the 9th of September was met with acclaim by critics and fans alike. It charted at #2 whilst battling with heavyweights Arctic Monkeys. The album’s construction is rather flawless, it speaks in one tone throughout yet manages to be evoking and enthralling all at once. The 90s house and R & B influence is evident on tracks such as ‘Sights’ with hypnotising beats and melodic hooks that contrast with the free-spirited ‘Flickers’ demo like style as Dot taps on bongos whilst Hannah does vocal acrobatics. ‘Night Call’ is epic and dramatic drawing reference to their comparators Florence + the Machine, whilst ‘Shyer’ showcases the band’s talented knowledge of instrumental much like The xx.
Since discovering London Grammar I could tell they were going to be a very prominent name on the British music scene. However, I was not aware of the extent of their talent until I had the opportunity to see their very first UK tour in Birmingham on Wednesday thanks to Chuffmedia.com. The atmosphere was charged as the majority of the audience knew this band were propelling towards the arenas at a startling speed, having already sold out their next UK tour in Spring. Huge cheers rose within the tiny room to the opening beats of ‘Hey Now’, Hannah Reid illuminated like an angel against the dark and cramped stage. Despite space being a slight issue, Dot managed to bring along a plethora of instruments and the band used their small backdrop to project haunting visuals throughout.
Ecstatic cries of adoration were heard as the band announced ‘Wasting My Young Years’ and the applause simply would not subdue following its closure as the crowd were in a state of desperate stupor as they tried to comprehend the pure magnitude of Hannah Reid’s vocal ability. The number of tracks performed from If You Wait was limited, but that is likely due to the fact that the trio have plans to tour a more extensive setlist once the album has been around for longer. We were still treated to a gloomy rendition of ‘Night Call’ which managed to silence a room of chatty Brummies, and its instrumental breakdown tingled and glistened in the intimate surrounding. ‘Strong’ was already being sung back in force by the crowd as this has become a private anthem to the dedicated fans. They closed with the incredible ‘Metal & Dust’ which has evolved into a brooding dance smash which feels as if it cracks open halfway through and mania spills from every inch of the stage as all three musicians work in perfect and precise unison.
So, to recap, without 2013 we would be missing out on a truly exciting and talented trio of dedicated performers. Keep your eyes on them for 2014 as you’re likely to see them on larger and larger stages.