The song retains the emotive background of echo-laden guitars, and Hannah Reid’s deep, emotively hyperbolic vocals from the band’s Metal & Dust EP, which was released in February. Reid’s repetition of the same basic sentence structure, following along the lines of “excuse me for a while / while I’m wide-eyed and so damn caught in the middle”, with slight lyrical variation, which perfectly compliment the vocalist’s weighty, emotionally rich voice.
‘Strong’, however does fail to surpass the sublime emotional impact of ‘Wasting My Young Years’, in which Hannah Reid muses, in her soaring vocals “Baby / We are / We are / Baby I’m wasting my young years”.
London Grammar remind of whispers of Patti Smith, Florence + The Machine and Bat For Lashes, whilst retaining an individualism in their delivery of introspective, emotionally-charged music.
Listen to ‘Strong’, as well as tracks from Metal & Dust below via Soundcloud.
“Hold me Forever knocked me out when I first heard it. It’s a sublime mix of beautiful melody and arresting emotion – but uniquely it is not a love song. I wanted to try and match the song with images that were both visually elegant and powerful. For some reason ballet dancers kept coming into my head. The strength, commitment and fluidity of movement of the dancers seemed somehow to cut wonderfully to the song.”
The song is undeniably beautiful, possessing an etherial quality due to the swirling combination of chimey guitars and synths, coupled with the strikingly uplifting and fluid lyrics of the band’s frontman, Jamie Lee. Thus, as Murphy pointed out, the fluidly of movement throughout the song undoubtedly matches the movement of dancers, making for a quite strikingly beautiful coupling.
The video was shot on location at The Old Vic Theatre in London, and features the talents of the English National Ballet.
N.B. – This video strikingly reminds me of Local Natives’ contribution to Pitchfork’s ‘City of Music’ series, which also utilises ballet dancers to express the movement of a song. Watch it below.
‘Metal’ is a massively loaded word amongst the vast majority of music listeners. For the majority, it evokes images of Black Sabbath’sOzzy Osborne biting the head of a bat off on stage, or the caricatures of metal bands not helped by the ridiculous costumes worn by the 2006 Eurovision winners Lordi, who look like they were a group of particularly committed Lord of the Rings fans who had got lost on the way to a convention, and found themselves on a stage in the middle of Athens.
Deafheaven, however, conform to none of these clichés. Musically or otherwise. Sunbather, the band’s sophomore LP, which was created after a concerted re-modelling of the band, with their bass, guitar and drummers all being replaced with new blood is a sublime effort. Sure, the album continues to feature the concerted heavily distorted guitar sounds that run throughout metal. However, it becomes clear on the opening track of Sunbather, ‘Dream House’ that Deafheaven are not a band that are content to exist comfortably within a single genre. Halfway through the track, the heavy guitars and uninterpretable vocals fade away, leaving a maze of shoegazey arpeggioing clean, echoey and reverb laden guitars. This tendency to drain the metal away continues throughout the album.
Admittedly, describing Deafheaven as ‘new music’ may be an egregious injustice to the band’s previous efforts – 2010’s Demo EP, and 2011’s Roads to Judea LP.