Introducing: London Grammar

by Harry Dunsford

Since unveiling their first track to the world – Hey Now – in December 2012, popularity for London Grammar has spiralled into what has largely been an internet-based phenomena.

The trio have: released an EP titledMetal & Dust” (which was endorsed by a certain BBC Radio 1 DJ *cough* Zane Lowe *cough*); featured on Disclosure’s album Settle in the track Help Me Lose My Mind; signed to the record label Warner/Chappell UK; embarked on a summer tour of festivals, which has included The xx’s Night + Day project; and if that wasn’t enough, the band have just announced that their album, If You Wait, will be released on September 9th, and is to be followed by a tour.

London Grammar have been described by the Guardian as “a PG-rated xx”. It’s an interesting comparison and yes, it is easy to draw the similarities, but there’s far more to them than that. Hannah Reid’s vocals are deeply chilling. In her words: it’s the “most natural places that lyrics come from”, and she’s been able to translate very real, honest, dark human emotion into the bands songs.

Don’t you know that it’s all I feel? I wouldn’t worry, You have all the love, I’ve heard it takes some time, To get it behind.

Multi-instrumentalist, Dot Major, provides a completely solid spatial foundation to every single song: from pulsating electronic waves and soul shattering chords to primitive drum beats. Each element does feel as though it wouldn’t be too far from home on a deep house track. Furthermore, his remix of Hey Now, available to download for free, is something I can definitely imagine being part of a DJ set at Cellar Door.

Guitarist, Dan Rothman, through the use of crisp delays and shimmering reverb coupled with layers and volume swells, is able to complete the sound. Never overused, and at times perfectly understated, the fact that it’s about quality not quantity means that as near as perfect balance has been struck between the three musicians. I feel that the band’s abilities are well highlighted in the song Metal & Dust.

The overall sound from the band that you get is of ‘Trip-Hop’ (holding origins with Massive Attack and Portishead), and described by Urban Dictionary as “a blend of electronica and down tempo hip-hop, urban and ethereal, street and ambience. Thought provoking, sensual and often deep… It’s head nodding music. Chill-out music”.

Warner/ Chappell Managing Director Richard Manners put it perfectly saying, “We haven’t fallen so deeply in love with a band for a long time…” The huge appeal of the band’s music for me, is that it feels genuine (something which is missing from much of mainstream music), and the few songs which have been released by them so far provide a tantalising preview of what’s to come.