A fondness for echo-laden guitar riffs and minimal atmospheric production, an apparent reluctance to be pop stars (until recently, only one black-and-white photo of the group existed online), two guys, one girl – it’s little wonder that enigmatic trio London Grammar have been hailed as the younger siblings of The xx.
The hushed guitars and sparse beats of “Hey Now,” the track which has received nearly 400,000 plays since it was uploaded to Soundcloud last December, are indeed reminiscent of the sound of the Mercury Prize winners. However, the three other glorious tracks which have since surfaced suggest that London Grammar are capable of carving out a distinct identity of their own.
Formed at Nottingham University, vocalist Hannah Reid, guitarist Dan Rothman and multi-instrumentalist Dot Major signed to the iconic Ministry Of Sound label eighteen months ago and have since been holed up in a studio working on their debut album alongside producers Tim Bran (Dreadzone, Primal Scream) and Roy Kerr (Ladyhawke, Little Boots).
Played on the UK’s biggest station, Radio 1, before they had even performed a gig, the title track from their Metal and Dust E.P. was declared the “Hottest Record In The World Today” by influential DJ Zane Lowe, while the trio eventually began to boost their profile with a support slot on BRIT Awards Critics’ Choice Tom Odell’s tour and a headline show at London’s Electrowerkz.
A guest appearance on post-garage duo Disclosure’s recent UK number one debut, Settle (“Help Me Lose My Mind”), should also help in that respect. But it’s their stunning current single, “Wasting My Young Years,” a heart-breaking slice of lush noir-pop that could give Lana Del Rey a run for her money, which is destined to propel them into the limelight.
Also currently out there, “Metal and Dust” is a beautifully melancholic affair, notable for a spine-tingling finale which sees Reid’s hauntingly soulful vocals weave in and out of an array of cinematic strings and emphatic trip-hop beats, along with “Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me,” an acoustic soul number which recalls Moby’s “In This World.” Expect London Grammar to become the new dinner party soundtrack of choice over the next twelve months.