Elena Tonra, Daughter’s lead singer, exudes grief from the first note of the main hit “Be On Your Way” on their new album Stereo Mind Game. Over soft guitar and drumming, her voice is confident but emotional.
The third studio album by Daughter is both refined and emotionally honest. It has hallucinogenic moments, but the themes it addresses are not light-hearted.
They were able to create yet another remarkable record with guitarist Igor Haefeli and percussionist Remi Aguilella. It was released on April 7, and was promoted by various listening parties across the world on the 6th of April.
It is an indie rock album that is heavy with emotion. “Isolation” perfectly portrays various aspects of being in a long-distance relationship. It almost feels like the people are in two different worlds.
Her voice melds perfectly with Haefeli’s rhythmic guitar. This is a recurring theme within the album which focuses on love and distance, as is exemplified in the “Isolation” lyric, “Cause I can’t swim / To be here in a distant dream”.
It tugs at the heart’s strings as Tonra longs to be with her beloved. There is a simplistic but melancholy music arrangement prevalent throughout the album as is evident in songs like “Wish I Could Cross The Sea” and “Future Lover”.
Though simple the drums and guitar are within perfect harmony. There is even a surprise classical element of strings that can be heard in “Swim Back”. This adds a romantic side to the song, bringing hope.
The hope is further displayed in “Dandelion” where she sings “Just waiting for replies.” The Dandelion flower is known to signify hope, growth, and healing which are integral parts of a relationship.
Daughter uses more symbolism to convey emotion in “Neptune”. Neptune is the 8th planet from the sun. It is also the coldest. Neptune displays the coldness and aloneness of being separated.
As the album progresses, there is a spoken word interlude (“Missed Calls”) where Tonra repeatedly says “Is it me?” It is the second of its kind. The opening track “Intro” is also an instrumental which seamlessly leads into “Be On Your Way”.
Further anguish can be heard in her voice in “Junkmail”, which is different from the other songs. She does not sing it in her angelic voice, instead, she delivers it in spoken word over catchy percussion. It details the pain of trying to move on but winding back up where you started.
“To Rage” contains emotionally charged content. While the lyrics are angry, her voice is defeated, and the guitar stands out. Within it, I could not help but feel a deep sadness.
It is much fainter than the bolder drums, a little hope clinging on. As the song progresses, it reaches a crescendo, the tempo picks up and it sounds more like a happier song.
The songs within the album fit together perfectly in a dreamlike haze. All the songs have nearly the same tempo with only a few exceptions. It brings about moods of sadness, lugubriousness, and hope. It further details the measures one can get to by losing themselves in parties just so they may tend to a broken heart.
It also encourages refusing to move on and trying to make things work within a long distant relationship. Tonra works in synergy with Haefeli and Aguilella without a hitch.
The album has high and low moments emotionally. The musical arrangement is simple with some nice surprises in the more punk song “Party”. Though they delved into how painful it is to be so disconnected, it was not all doom and gloom.
They succeeded in striking the right balance conceptually. It is a stripped-back soundtrack one can cling to as they are reminded of their loved one, no matter how far they may be.
Listen to Daughter’s Stereo Mind Game below and stream it everywhere else here.
Words by Melisa Nyamukondiwa