Single Review: Daughter – Smother

By on Thursday, 23rd August 2012 at 12:00 pm

London melancholic folkies Daughter is having an exemplary year. We will look back at 2012 as the year where the trio not only impressed the suits at 4AD to secure a UK record contract but did the same with New York City’s Glassnote Records, who have managed to catapult both Two Door Cinema Club and Mumford and Sons into the heights of super stardom. This year will surely be remembered by me, if only for the amazing performance at SXSW at St. David’s Historic Sanctuary that I was privileged to experience. On the 1st of October, the band will be releasing a new single, ‘Smother’ (whose title I dearly hope won’t be too confused with the Wild Beasts‘ album of the same name).

Early on in the song are the lines “I want all that is not mine / I want him but we’re not right”, sung by Elena Tonra with a gentle lilt at the end of each line. The words, as they go on, prove that Tonra is not through talking about the pain of lost love. As in previous radio hit ‘Landfill’, ‘Smother’ sounds about as bleak as a suicide note; beginning first with soft guitar, the song swells to the chorus, in which Tonra asserts about her death “what a mess I will leave / to follow…” and a repeat of the lines “In the darkness I will meet my creators / they will agree / that I’m a suffocator”, when all of a sudden, the title suddenly becomes clearer. So it is about suicide, isn’t it? It’s easy to think this way until you reach the end, when you get to the most telling moment of all: “sorry if I smothered you / sorry if I smothered you / sometimes wish I’d stayed inside my mother / never to come out”. Talk about getting socked in the gut.

Have you ever experienced so much pain, so much sorrow in a relationship that broke down, so much that you wish you’d never been born? ‘Smother’ distills all this pain, neatly and so gorgeously in 4 minutes and 3 seconds. It’s the kind of pain you’d never wish on anyone, but with Elena Tonra’s songwriting genius, it’s okay, because you’re left feeling, yes, I have felt such pain. And like her, I’ve come out of it. And survived to live another day. Sometimes we should stop to applaud such a victory.


‘Smother’, Daughter’s next single, will be released on 7″ vinyl on the 1st of October on 4AD; it’s their first single with the label. It will be backed by a re-recorded version of ‘Run’, which was previously available on the band’s free ‘Demos’ EP.


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