Daughter - Stereo Mind Game

Regular price $ 26.40

Following the release cycle for their second album, the U.K. Top 20-charting Not to Disappear, Daughter explored other directions including composing music for a video game (2017's Life Is Strange: Before the Storm), and bandleader Elena Tonra launched a sparer, even more personal solo project, Ex:Re. The latter delivered a self-titled debut in 2018, then followed up in 2021 with a live album that reimagined songs from the debut with 12-piece string orchestra 12 Ensemble. Two years later, Daughter are back with their first proper studio album in seven years, Stereo Mind Game, which finds their uncanny blend of folk and shoegaze influences augmented by appearances from 12 Ensemble. While the band have called Stereo Mind Game their most optimistic album yet, the optimism is in the details and not so much reflected in the fragile, somber soundscapes and intimacy that fans will be glad to find still in place. It opens with a brief, crescendoing "Intro" that sounds as if strings, synths, and vocals alike are tuning before the show. In less than a minute, it lands on first song "Be On Your Way," whose gossamer haze of noise, quietly ringing guitars, and gentle vocals are soon bolstered by skittering drum rhythms, rumbling low tones, and swells of strings. The chamber orchestra isn't a constant here -- songs like the rock-steady "Party" come and go while relying entirely on fuzzy hooks and plenty of echo for their deceptively spacious atmospheres, and minimalist "Isolation" makes due with acoustic guitar and effects -- but they reappear throughout, and the dramatic quality established by their presence and the inclusion of the intro is further explored with the incorporation of phone messages and voice samples on tracks like the half-spoken "Junkmail" and experimental interlude of sorts "Missed Calls." The fleshy core of the album, however, remains songs highlighted by the choir-accompanied "Neptune," swirling, danceable "Swim Back," and glitch-folk closer "Wish I Could Cross the Sea," which seems to wrangle elements of all the previous tracks. Produced by Tonra and bandmate Igor Haefeli, Stereo Mind Game is an album that sounds like it was assembled with care, as Daughter change things up while remaining instantly familiar.

Recycled Color Vinyl

1 Intro 0:55
2 Be on Your Way 4:04
3 Party 4:27
4 Dandelion 3:51
5 Neptune 5:25
6 Swim Back 4:34
7 Junkmail 4:05
8 Future Lover 4:13
9 (Missed Calls) 1:43
10 Isolation 2:37
11 To Rage 4:45
12 Wish I Could Cross the Sea 3:38