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London Grammar: Californian Soil

By Yan Céh |

London Grammar return with their third studio album, Californian Soil, a shining new project from the Nottingham natives. Stream or download now in 24-Bit Hi-Res on Qobuz.

This third album from the Nottingham trio opens like the beginning of a movie, with an airy "Intro" accompanied by waves of violins... Then they get straight down to business on the second track, "Californian Soil", which gives the album its title. Hannah Reid's voice has never been so gripping and masterful, both icy and red hot at the same time. The violins are present throughout. The only element that makes it possible to date the track to the present day is the electronic rhythm: a bit of downtempo nostalgia that is reminiscent of nineties trip hop. A video was made for the track with a rather dark aesthetic, a poetic blur and beach scenes reminiscent of David Hamilton's seventies photographs. The experience continues with "Missing" on which Hannnah Reid's ever-present virtuoso voice is amplified by echoes acting like a gospel choir.

Speaking about the album, the singer explained that it mainly deals with themes such as feminism and celebrity - major trends of our time. She writes, “This record is about gaining possession of my own life. You imagine success will be amazing. Then you see it from the inside and ask, ‘Why am I not controlling this thing? Why am I not allowed to be in control of it? And does that connect, in any way, to being a woman? If so, how can I do that differently?’” Speaking about success, she refers to the group’s previous record, Truth Is a Beautiful Thing, released in 2017. By way of answers, the twelve tracks that make up Californian Soil indeed see Hannah take possession of the band and its reflections and attachment to the deepest of feelings, as shown by the bewitching and powerful "Lord It's a Feeling" and the more poppy "How Does It Feel". London Grammar's indie pop is crossed by electronic elements, which gives it a unique feel, as on "Baby It's You". The cinematographic atmosphere can be felt on "I Need The Night", before sinking into the darkness and mystery of the last track, "America", a melancholic ballad where Hannah talks about this (American) "dream that meant nothing to me...". Without doubt, Californian Soil is a great album and a shining new success for London Grammar.


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