London Grammar Delve Deep on ‘Truth Is a Beautiful Thing’
Atmospheric electro-pop has become English trio London Grammar’s modus operandi. This, combined with their affinity for minimalistic soundscapes is what propelled them into the spotlight in 2013 with the release of their debut, “If You Wait.” Well, we’ve waited four long years, and London Grammar has finally delivered the goods on their sophomore album, “Truth is a Beautiful Thing.” Awe-inspiring, sweeping and grandiose, London Grammar found themselves working with famed producers like Paul Epworth and Greg Kurstin (Adele) to pull the best out of the group over the course of the record’s 18 tracks. Their signature sparse sounds traded out for more lush, cinematic hooks, the slower pace allowing for something truly beautiful to unfold. Worth the wait, London Grammar’s effortless brand of trip-hop has found its stride.
You’ll need time to sink your teeth into this one. Slow-burning and soft, many of the tracks here take a few minutes to develop. Polishing their already smooth sound to a glossy finish, London Grammar has opened themselves up to taking a few more worthwhile risks on “Truth is a Beautiful Thing.” The record’s title track casts its spell immediately, and a piano ballad carried by lead singer Hannah Reid’s dramatic vocals give the lyrics some bite: “Could you take my place and stand here? I do not think you’d take this pain. You’ll be on your knees and struggle under the weight.” Still minimalistic in its approach, the piano melody provides just enough to keep things enticing. Tracks like “Big Picture” feel otherworldly, employing the help of Mercury-nominated electronic musician Jon Hopkins. Here he gives Hannah Reid’s powerful pipes a wonderfully symphonic launch pad. We also find much more variation between tracks, which are all stylistically similar enough to remind us that this is, in fact, the same band. Here we find a much more varied ebb-and-flow. Percussion takes center stage on “Non-Believer” while gritty reverberating guitars push through on “Leave The War With Me.” The British trio has mastered the creation of emotionally-compelling dream pop in just a few short years.
“Truth Is A Beautiful Thing” remains calm and collected while deconstructing complex past relationships. Raising the stakes in every way, it is clear London Grammar has used the time since their debut wisely. Well-timed flourishes, memorable instrumentation, and hard-hitting lyrics make for an impressive sophomore album—one that is not only beautiful but also breathtakingly cool. Fans of the group’s past work will relish in their ability to keep their signature sound while still managing to look forward and push themselves artistically; new listeners will be mystified by the group’s mastery of poetic minimalism. This well-balanced combination of layered musical backing and lyrical introspection is what makes and will continue to keep London Grammar at the tips of all our tongues.
“Truth Is A Beautiful Thing” is available on Apple Music June 2.