Daughters are back with their first album in eight years. Daughters is one of those bands that’s always marched to their own beat, something that can be both a blessing and a curse. I first heard them, by chance, opening for someone during the Canada Songs era and I was blown away by the intensity of the band. It was a more grindy version of DEP to me, and at the time, I was eating and breathing stuff like that. I loved it. Fast forward a few years, and I saw them again, but by then Hell Songs had come out. Now remember, back then it wasn’t as easy as it is today to listen to the latest a band has to offer at no financial risk to your person, so I went in unprepared for what transpired. The band had pulled a 180 and the freak-out, big-tent revival, snake-oil salesman sermon I witnessed was not at all what I had expected. I was confused. I was challenged. I was smitten AND repulsed at the same time. It was bizarre. I saw them again a few years later and I still left confused and endeared. Eventually they broke up.
A few years back, the band started doing reunion shows here and there and teased at new material. I was intrigued at first, but totally chomping at the bit after Ipecac teased the first single. At long last, the new record came out last week, and I can’t believe I waited until today to finally dig in. First of all, I have to admit that I never bought the self-titled and I can’t for sure say if I ever listened to it, so consider that when reading through my raw reactions to their latest.
The album sounds dense, almost suffocating at times with the amount of sounds and textures being thrown about. It’s great! The bass in Daughters has always been very distorted, and that tradition continues here. It’s constant churning a cornerstone of the claustrophobic compositions contained herein. The guitars also stay true to recent Daughters history with just as much time spent making creepy sounds as anything remotely considered “traditional” guitar playing in a heavy band. At times, I’d swear the dang thing is a synthesizer (heck, maybe there is a synth?). The drums generally sound good, but on songs like the opener, they are heavily processed (and possibly electronic?), pushing the tunes through the paces with just as many busy fills as straight-forward parts to keep it weird but catchy. The vocals are really strong, and I think show growth from Alexis Marshall as he seems to better control his voice on this record. It’s menacing and off-putting, but also less pitchy and intentionally challenging. The multi-layered tracks add to the girth of the album. The net result is a record that sounds unlike much else I’ve heard lately, with Murderedman’s debut from a couple of years back coming the closest. Kudos!
Daughters are not for everyone, but I think they really knocked it out of the park on this reunion album. I think this might be my favorite Daughters record! This is easily in my tops of 2018. Turns out, I got exactly what I wanted. Check it out! – Jason
City Song – The album opens with a foreign, electronic sounding track that takes several minutes to shed it’s disguise and reveal its true form. A harsh, digital sounding wash of sound envelopes me while a distorted snare beats along at intervals for the first minute before shifting into a hypnotic, nauseating groove propelled by what sounds like electronic drums. I can’t think of a better word to describe it than awkward, and yet that doesn’t do it justice. It’s like Psychic TV or Throbbing Gristle, in a way, given the nature of the repetitive vocal mantra and the inhuman churn of the band. I’m driven to bob my head obediently to the unrelenting pulse until it abruptly stops and shifts into what sounds like a synthesizer blowing itself apart. The cacophonous reprise comes in like a ton of bricks and I’m crushed. Nasty!
Long Road, No Turns – After the drawn out vocal ending of the opener, this song kicks in out of nowhere sounding nothing like the preceding 5 minutes. It’s rad. The guitars are dishing out sounds that approach that of an angry hive of bees, undulating and spitting out disorienting sounds while the drums and bass pound along relentlessly. The sound is everywhere, and I’m sinking into the din. There is no escape, only a slow, terrifying death. This is doing a great job of making me very uneasy. “It’s funny how it works, someone’s always got it worse,” the vocal chant that rounds the song out is bad ass too. Thumbs way up!
Satan In The Wait – A haunting guitar bit opens this track in conjunction with a herky-jerky drum beat that demands full body bobbing. Then the dang bass comes in and I’m immediately overcome with a terrible case of stink-face. The lyrics on this one, as far as I can discern on these first listens are kick ass (something about a “some faces even a mother can’t love” and a “tombstone standing where there used to be a headboard”). The band continues with the hypnotic pulse through the verse until the wonderfully melodic guitar comes out of nowhere for the chorus. Dang! This is catchy! The bass and drums never stop driving this nasty groove; like a stake straight through my heart – slowly. Gosh, I’m dead. The vocal wail can’t be ignored either, especially as it approaches the climax of the song. This is so, so very good.
The Flammable Man – Woah, this song kicks off on an uptempo bludgeoning courtesy of the drums and bass while the guitars peel off sheets of disorienting sound that eventually comes across sounding like a Minimoog within the first minute. The glitchy drum edits make the song sound alien and broken, as do the “guitar” parts that sound nothing like a guitar should ever sound. C’mon, that’s a synth, right? Right? So good. Gnarly!
The Lords Song – The uptempo blast continues with this loud, bombastic track. I’m slamming my heel into the ground and banging my head ferociously. Marshall continues to deliver his unholy sermon from the bloody, spit-soaked pulpit, but it seems more fierce than the album has sounded thus far. The synthesized guitar sounds continue and overwhelm, the crescendo of sound suffocating me to a delightful death. Hot Damn! Thumbs way up!
Less Sex – We’re back to a mid-tempo, electronic-sounding crawl with this eerie track that could just as easily be a Nine Inch Nails cut as it is Daughters. Marshall’s vocal is deep and controlled, driving the narrative with ease. The verses swell into a swirl of sound, once again overwhelming me as the listener. I can’t help but bob along to this slow-burning groover of a tune. Way cool.
Daughter – The mournful guitar squawks that open this track take on an almost saxophone like sound before the tune surprises with a Tomahawk/Duane Dennison sounding rock and roll vibe. This would be the most open and airey track on the record if it wasn’t for the wash of sound hovering in the distance, and then the anxious, winding guitar bit that starts looping in from the edge of the song. It’s very catchy, and very weird. Then you get the bizarre, sort-of-new-wave sounding bridge? I love it.
The Reason They Hate Me – Dang, this is another banger! Sounding a bit like Ex-Models, the guitar continues to defy what you think a guitar should sound like once again presenting as a synth. The staccato, inorganic stabs of sound are intense. The driving, brooding chord progression is thick as a brick and catchy to boot. Head banging, foot stomping, this rocks! “Don’t tell me how to do my job!” Thumbs way up!
Ocean Song – A simple bass pulse drives this song while an awkward tom-beat pounds out the time, guitar accents squawking along with the rambling vocal. I can’t stop nodding along, and then suddently the band lands on a shrieking “chorus” riff of sorts out of nowhere. This one kind of reminds me a little bit of Angel Dust-era Faith No More, a brooding, creepy-crawl of a tune that drags me along for the ride. It’s hypnotic, and I drown beneath the waves of sound. Sweet.
Guest House – The guitars on this album freak me out because they sound like a gosh dang Minimoog so often, and this track is no exception. It’s nuts, it reminds me so much of the timbre of Lozenge (one of my all-time favorite bands), particularly something from their final LP UNDONE. This tune is another banger, immediately demanding full-body participation in the groove, the vocal reaching and breaking into savage snarl (“Let me in!”). This is probably the heaviest song on the album and it’s a total bruiser. It’s relentless push forward is excellent. Thumbs way up!