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London trio Daughter emerged in the front half of the 2010s with a beguiling pop sound that incorporated moody folk and hushed electronics in ways that recalled Cat Power as well as the xx. Fronted by singer/guitarist Elena Tonra, the band's 4AD-issued debut album, If You Leave, went gold in the U.K. and was followed in 2016 by the cinematic Not to Disappear. After their 2017 video game soundtrack, Music from Before the Storm, Tonra shifted focus to her solo project, Ex:Re, which released two albums. In early 2023, following a six-year break, Daughter returned with the lush single "Be on Your Way." North London native Tonra was performing on her own when she met guitarist Igor Haefeli at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance, where they were both enrolled. Along with drummer Remi Aguilella, Haefeli completed the band's line-up, and Daughter began circulating a demo ahead of their 2011 debut EP, His Young Heart. Just six months later, a second EP, The Wild Youth, appeared on Mumford & Sons' artist-run Communion label. More polished and eclectic, the EP was well-received and served as a springboard for Daughter's signing with vaunted U.K. label 4AD early the next year. Led by the ethereal single "Smother," the group's 2013 debut album, If You Leave, was a critical and commercial success, reaching number 16 the U.K. Albums chart and cracking the upper half of the Billboard 200 in the U.S. Daughter toured extensively in support of the album before re-entering the studio to begin work on their second album. Primarily self-recorded, the nearly completed album was then taken to Nicolas Vernhes (Deerhunter, War on Drugs, Animal Collective), who produced the final mixes at his Rare Book Room studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Not to Disappear was released in early 2016 and bore the band's signature mixture of lyrical honesty set to tones of shoegaze, indie pop, and folk. Like their previous outing, it charted well on both sides of the Atlantic. Switching over to the Glassnote label, Daughter's next project was 2017's largely instrumental video game soundtrack Music from Before the Storm. A year later, Tonra released an eponymous album under the solo moniker Ex:Re, effectively putting Daughter on hiatus. Tonra continued to focus on Ex:Re in the next decade, collaborating with composer Josephine Stephenson on the 2021 album Ex:Re with 12 Ensemble. While she remained in London, her two bandmates settled elsewhere with Haefeli in Bristol and Aguilella in Portland, Oregon. Despite the physical distance between them, Daughter began working on new material with its two U.K. residents meeting up at Devon's Middle Farm Studio and Aguilella recording remotely in Vancouver, Washington. Self-produced among the three members, 2023's Stereo Mind Game struck a more optimistic tone and featured a denser, more orchestral palette than earlier releases. The album's first single, "Be on Your Way," was released in January 2023.
© Heather Phares /TiVo
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