After bursting onto the scene with the release of their hugely successful platinum-selling debut album, If You Wait, in 2013, London Grammar have made us all do just that. With their first studio effort’s tour coming to a close in 2015, the University of Nottingham alumni have seemingly disappeared off the radar since – making only a handful of select public and festival appearances.
However, a lot of work was being done behind the scenes – often in charmingly relatable creative spaces. The soulful voice at the heart of London Grammar, Hannah Reid, told of how the lyrics to Truth Is a Beautiful Thing‘s lead single, ‘Rooting For You’, were compiled “in the shower, basically completely a capella. It started on tour then I finished it at home.”
This insight into the mind of Reid gives a sense of the modest yet inventive nature of herself and her longtime friends – with their unassuming aura only emphasising the purity and resonance of their sound.
Would we be telling the truth that their new latest record is indeed a beautiful thing? Read on to find out:
Opening with the aforementioned ‘Rooting For You’, Reid teases her extraordinary vocal range alongside a delicate guitar and keyboard backing from bandmates Dan Rothman and Dominic ‘Dot’ Major respectively. The album’s second single, ‘Big Picture’, follows – allowing the trio to gently pick up the pace of the record in reaching a frankly gorgeous crescendo – prior to ‘Wild Eyed’. Here, after a relatively slow-burning opening, Rothman and Major create the perfect ethereal beat for Reid’s powerfully raw combination of dulcet tones and exquisite high notes – providing one of Truth Is a Beautiful Thing‘s real highlights.
Moving on, the latest single ‘Oh Woman Oh Man’ gives an example of how adaptable Reid’s unique vocals can be, with the layered nature of the hook really drawing the listener in, before another masterful crescendo is reached in ‘Hell to the Liars’. ‘Everyone Else’ and ‘Non Believer’ maintain the previous pace, while keeping the tried and tested formula fresh with experimental yet tasteful autotuning in the latter.
‘Bones of Ribbon’ also shakes things up a bit in providing the album with its first notable example of a traditional physical drumbeat as opposed to machinated percussion, before another exemplary showing from Reid in ‘Who Am I’. A return to drums comes in ‘Leave The War’, which also features a once more prominent musical backing from both Rothman and Major, prior to the titular final song rounding off the album in delicate yet consummate style.
While at times the trio’s formula throughout the record can be deemed stretched – almost to the point of exhaustion – there are just about enough original ideas flowing through each track for the listening experience to be one of a wholly enjoyable and absorbing nature.
London Grammar’s Truth Is a Beautiful Thing is released on June 9th via Ministry Of Sound Records, and can be pre-ordered here.
Words by Jonno Mack