(12 Oct 2013) London Grammar began around the time that vocalist Hannah Reid and guitarist Dan Rothman met in the residence hall at the University of Nottingham (England) during their first year in 2009. Rothman saw a picture of Reid on Facebook with a guitar and sent her a message to see if she wanted to collaborate. Multi-instrumentalist Dot Major (keyboard, djembe, drums) was added later, after being introduced to the band by Rothman's girlfriend. Hannah Reid had three years of vocal training beginning at age 14 and today is command of both an incredible range and astoundingly tremendous power. Read our review of their stunning live performance and debut album below.
Live in Boston, MA. London Grammar took the stage and performed at the Brighton Music Hall two nights ago to a large, and an extremely enthusiastic crowd. Hannah Reid fronted the British indie pop trio with her rich and emotionally intense vocals. Her soaring voice, combined with melancholy guitar are the hallmark of London Grammar's sound. Hannah had a lot of fun with the audience between songs, joking with them and also being emotional about their last performance of the American tour. The audience responded with a warm reception to the trio and their blend of ambient, ethereal and classical music.
Interspersed with electronic elements, the band maintains a dynamic and dramatic sound. Hannah's demonstrative vocals highlighted their own material and cover songs. The band uses minimal instrumentation, and there is a simplicity amid the complex melodies. The reverb percussion establishes a tone and deep rhythm that supports Hannah's hypnotic vocals. She often has a wistfulness to her voice as she emotes a soulfullness to her lyrics.
Material in their almost one hour set following the complementary half hour opening act Jaymes Young was drawn from their debut album and earlier EP. London Grammar's rich arrangements came across very well in the live setting with pre-recorded loops and backing tracks. After opening with their now classic rendition of "Hey Now" the audience was mesmerized with Reid's vocal prowess.
London Grammar's music often includes breaks of silence which tripped up those in the audience unfamiliar with the tracks to applaud or cheer wildly in the middle of a song. Highlights of the live show included stunning performances of our favorites "Stay Awake" and "Shyer" as well as "Wasting My Young Years," "Metal & Dust," "Flicker" and "Strong," amongst others. The straight set was followed by an incredible encore, the band's cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game."
The Boston audience appears to have been treated to a little longer set than some of their other tour stops. Reactions to the band's live performances on this, their first, tour will make them much more difficult to see next time around, and we are sure that they will be back! London Grammar are simply amazing.--Audrey and Russ Elliot in Boston, MA
If You Wait. London Grammar's debut album If You Wait (Metal & Dust Recordings Ltd. / Ministry of Sound Recordings Ltd (UK), 2013) has been released in at least three versions. We were provided a watermarked digital download of the deluxe 17-track UK version available from iTunes and amazon.co.uk with a running time of well over an hour. The American iTunes download and generally available CD includes just the first eleven tracks while the amazon.com download includes twelve.
London Grammar released three different versions of the Wasting My Young Years EP in June 2013 and offered listeners streams of their songs throughout the past twelve months to build momentum for their debut album. The band's music is intoxicating from the first listen and our editorial staff characterizes it as electronic alternative, a blend between early October Project and modern day Chvrches.
Our If You Wait album includes the three original studio tracks from their debut EP, further London Grammar originals as well as some of their most acclaimed covers. The band have become well known for their rendition of "Hey Now," "Strong" and "Wicked Game."
Listeners will also be stricken immediately by the richness of London Grammar's recordings. Bass is deep and thick, but never ever overpowering. The sharp contrast between Hannah Reid's reverb-rich soaring vocals works exquisitely on every track on the album. Standouts include "Stay Awake" although we wish it was at least half again as long, the stunning "Shyer," "Wasting My Young Years" and "Metal & Dust" for sure.
The album shines equally with the downtempo songs that include "Nightfall" and "Interlude" for example. The deluxe album's bonus tracks not only extend the running time but further extend the range of the band's repertoire. Be sure to check out "Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me," a track chock full of Hannah Reid's stunning vocalize, which is totally amazing when performed live.
The album's one EDM-oriented track is "Help Me Lose My Mind." Several of the remixes at the band's SoundCloud have a similar orientation. We especially appreciated that they were all superbly produced without one of them being overdone with thumpiness or length.
Interested visitors can find a vast collection of the band's recorded music at their SoundCloud site. There is also a range of live recordings at YouTube ("Stay Awake" and half of "Flickers" at The Troubadour, for example).
Audiences worldwide have discovered London Grammar as demonstrated by strong chart ratings. Listen to London Grammar fronted by Hannah Reid immediately.-- Russ Elliot in Boston, MA