Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Ian Grimble
The one thing that you'd be surprised to know about Daughter front woman, Elena Tonra, is that she tends to smile much more than you'd suspect. It's a shy and slightly impish grin that tends to be cast down or to the side, but she lets it out and onto her beautifully pale face often. It could just be that over rounds of strawberry beers, in a pub on a spectacularly nice May afternoon in the Crouch End neighborhood of London, anyone's liable to smile a bit more, when all of the nervous energy has burned off and the hardest part of the day is in the books. When you listen to Daughter, you don't hear smiles. You hear sullenness and the bleak remains. Oh, it's about as gorgeous as it gets, but it devastates you. It makes you need a hug and it makes you want to deliver a hug - or however many it might take to lighten the mood some, to get everyone back on the sunny side. It's nice to walk along those shores for a while though and to soak in all that Tonra has in her, those swarms of sadness that must hurt quite a lot. They must poke and reiterate. They must keep lapping up against her heart, splashing and breaking. It might be soothing to sleep to or perhaps it's so loud that such an activity isn't possible. Along with her boyfriend and guitarist, Igor Haefeli, Tonra has made a sound that reminds us of all the dead ends that we run into and can find no other ways around. We fall down to our knees and just let it out.
She likes to imagine that she's not here any longer - that she's been gotten rid of. She likes to pretend that she's been dismissed, that her time is up. It's all that she gets and there's an overwhelming sense that she might have blown what little she had, that she might just sink to the bottom of the ocean like a hulking rock. Here she was, doing what she could to be gentle and to move sweetly, to keep to herself, to bring her own kind of happiness into whatever she touched and it all came up short. There was not enough time or not enough happiness. On a few different songs - a couple of which appear on the group's debut EP, which appears on the Communion Music label - we hear her suggesting that she be discarded, as if she were a dead body, a corpse that deserved no rites, that deserved no grace or concern. She asks in song to just be thrown into the landfill, into that pit of dirt, or to be tossed into the sea, without worry for consequences or the splash that she would make. She loves to imagine how forgotten she could become with the last tick of a heartbeat. Oddly, it seems to make her less insignificant, or make her feel less that way. She sings, "By the time the sun comes up, we'll be nothing but dust/Just the outlines of our hands," and it's in those lines that we feel she'll take the time to smile just a little, as if she can breath easier, with so little pressure on her. It's then that we all get our strawberry beers and slag it all off.
Daughter Official Site
Session recorded with the help of Communion Music in London, England