The sensational ‘If You Wait’ came out back in 2013 to universal acclaim, but ever since dropping the 17-song spectacular, they’ve made their fans live up to the album name and sit it out for almost four years. Four years which ended very recently.
The band shared the incredible ‘Rooting For You’ on 1 January 2017, followed it up with ‘Big Picture’ on 1 February, a song produced by techno genius Jon Hopkins, and released ‘Truth is a Beautiful Thing’, the title track of their forthcoming album, in March. It was well worth the wait.
It’s with the isolated vocals of ‘Rooting For You’ that Hannah Reid opens London Grammar’s gig at Oran Mor on 3 April, the first they’ve played since they began the recording of their second album. A church was certainly the perfect setting for a performance so striking it edged on otherworldly.
Dot is a classically trained pianist, which makes a lot of sense to when you listen to any of the records. The classical training of both him and Reid leads to a distinctly meditative, engaging sound which when paired with the electronic input turns entirely cinematic.
Throughout the performance, each instrument and input can be heard acutely, none of the sounds drowning out any of the others and Reid’s vocals always out in front. It’s intricate yet feels raw and powerful thanks to lyrics which hang in the air above the Oran Mor crowd.
The stunning new material goes down as well as any of the old stuff; always an impressive sign for any act. The group play a bulk of the first album nevertheless, which is predictively well met. Let's remember that Oran Mor is a small venue, and London Grammar have numerous songs over the 40,000,000 play mark on Spotify alone. This is a huge act - and an even bigger voice - in what is in contrast, a delightfully compact venue.
‘Wasting My Younger Years’, ‘Metal & Dust’ and the group’s original signal ‘Hey Now’ are all highlights, but the nature of the music makes every song a journey. ‘Truth is a Beautiful Thing’ is saved for the encore, and the cheers in the crowd reflect the beauty of the song.
The new record is shaping up to be one that will go above and beyond the expectations of London Grammar fans. It seems impossible that anyone could listen to their distinctive sound without become instantly transfixed.
Stuart Kenny 5/5