Get Ready for London Grammar
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
This band, with its epic lead singer and trip-hop sounds, is outselling Kanye, Miley and Robin Thicke in the U.K.
By Barbara Fletcher
What do you get when you mix some Florence + the Machine, season with a little Portishead and add a dash of Fleetwood Mac? Well, it’s definitely not Katy Perry. What it is: one of the best new bands of the year. And it didn’t even exist at this time last year
London Grammar, a trip-hop trio hailing from London, has been likened to those bands above — and even considered a more mainstream contemporary of the red-hot Lorde — but the group has a seductive sound all its own. The songs may be dubbed alternative in the charts, but they’re poppy enough to be deliciously accessible. Lead singer Hannah Reid’s epic, ethereal and angsty vocals ride electronic-driven melodies — both ambient and classical — carrying narratives of love and loss. You can hear it in the emotionally charged singles ”Strong” and ”Wasting My Young Years.”
However, their debut album If You Wait is ”not just a love record,” Reid points out in a recent interview with NPR. It’s more of a commentary on her generation in a time that, despite privilege and good upbringing, many 20-somethings seem to be ”really lost and kind of depressed and … disillusioned.”
The second half of the year has just felt like everything’s kinda sped up, especially abroad … That’s been amazing.
For a band that writes about loss, fans certainly found them quickly. London Grammar is one of those young groups whose effortless hotness and hipness vaulted them to rock-star status before they even floated out their first album this past fall. Back in December, Reid and band mates Dan Rothman and Dot Major put their first song, “Hey Now,” online with no photos or details, becoming known as that “mysterious London trio.” Their first EP, Metal & Dust, released in February, was followed up by a sold-out headliner show in London. By the summer, London Grammar’s melodic trip-hop sound had the band pegged as contenders for the U.K.’s coveted Mercury Prize — and without an album, no less.
That prize didn’t happen. But when their album debuted, it rocked the U.K. music scene. The Guardian recently called London Grammar a ”traditional, homegrown success story.” After all, If You Wait has ”in the U.K. at least, outsold Kanye’s Yeezus, Miley’s Bangerz and Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines.”
There’s been success in the U.S., too, with the band’s three singles emerging on TV series like “Revenge” and ”Covert Affairs.” After their first U.S. tour this past fall, which saw sold-out dates in New York and L.A., the band just announced plans for another U.S. tour starting in March, kicking off SXSW in Austin, Texas.
So what is London Grammar’s biggest appeal? Sure, they are young, fashionable and criminally photogenic, but they’re also likable and humble. “People listen to our music and get the impression we’re very melancholy,” Major recently told Hot Press. “They meet us and are surprised to discover that, actually, we’re quite normal — chirpy, even.”r