Album of the Month - February 2019
Rough Trade Exclusive with bonus CD featuring four tracks from the Ex:Re gig at Hoxton Hall on 28th November 2018.
The first solo album from Daughter's Elena Tonra, under the moniker Ex:Re, is a lingering love-note to a companion now gone, and although there is little comfort in her sadness, Tonra is able to find beauty and eloquence.
"I miss you". The on-going narrative of the album. The hazy memory of a relationship is stitched together with anecdotes. Moods of isolation, pining and despair. The song Romance speaks of an empty and almost angry one-night stand, in The Dazzler she drinks alone in the protective limbo of a hotel, all the time hauntingly reminded of a missing piece. What once was and is no more. Like Prince's Nothing Compares 2 U, the relationship is only referenced as a point of comparison to the sadness she feels now. The spectral relationship hangs around in the shadows, without ever revealing its true form.
The sheen and clarity of Daughter is gone with Ex:Re, in exchange for more tender and textured sound. The light-touches elevate Tonra's voice, allowing her to work within her emotion and without the need to accentuate. There are flashes of Jeff Buckley, gentle reminders of Laura Veirs and even a raw Sun Kil Moon touch on the song New York.
This is not an album that screams empowerment, in fact fragility and self doubt are the key themes, but the eerie approach strikes a chord we all know well and all should have experienced. The album goes to the very heart and does not flinch in handling the comedown and despair of a love lost.
Albums of the Month
2. Prefab Sprout - I Trawl The Megahertz
3. Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow
4. Unloved - Heartbreak
5. Beirut - Gallipoli
6. Tor Y Moi - Outer Peace
7. International Teachers of Pop - International Teachers of Pop
8. Night Beats - Myth of a Man
9. Toy - Happy in the Hollow
10. Sneaks - Highway Hypnosis