London Grammar’s second album ‘Truth Is A Beautiful Thing’ mirrors the blueprint of the band’s 2013 debut ‘If You Wait’, marrying understated electronics and synths to transcendent melodies and vocals. Singer Hannah Reid’s voice remains the centrepiece, flowing like liquid gold through the intricate soundscapes, shaped by a fragile loveliness, and underscored by a Tolkien-esque otherworldliness.
Her voice leads and dictates proceedings but never feels overbearing, with the band deftly balancing the interchange between Reid’s vocals and the twinkling keys and subtle instrumentation that envelop it, notably on lead single ‘Rooting For You’, and on the elegant title cut.
Thematically, the LP is set against the backdrop of youth’s eternal quest for love, and the pitfalls we must navigate along its treacherous pathway. Heartache, angst and endless introspection bleed into all eleven tracks: “I’m no better than those I judge,” implores Reid on ‘Hell To The Liars’. And elsewhere on ‘Who am I’ there’s obvious self-denial when she bemoans “Who am I to want you now you are leaving?”
The main criticism you can level at the LP is that it lacks variety – that it doesn’t stray far enough from the space that the band so ably carved for themselves on their debut. Ultimately, though, this is a beautiful album that’s as absorbing as it is emotionally affecting.
Words: Gibreel Farishta
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