Daughter – ‘Stereo Mind Game’ review: an honest and hopeful look at the human experience

On their third album, their first in seven years, London trio thrive by wading into the depths of human relationships

It’s been seven years since we last heard from London folk-rock trio Daughter, when Elena Tonra, Igor Hafeli and Remy Aguilella shared their ode to the elusive aggression ‘Not to Disappear’. Since, he has soundtracked the video game Life Is Strange: Before the Storm and taken time to focus on personal projects, Tonra released a self-titled solo effort in 2018 under his project Ex:Re.

Nevertheless, they continued writing together, spending that time recording around the world, all the while slowly moving away from the delicate sadness of their 2013 debut ‘If You Leave’. With ‘Stereo Mind Game’, Daughter marks a new era of sadness trending rather than living in it, where the band is venturing into new wider ranges of emotion without leaving behind the rich orchestrations and poetic lyricism for which They are known.

Betty broke her silence in January with the album’s lead single ‘Be On Your Way’. In the meditative track, Tonera’s vocals loom over sparse instrumentation as she tells the story of a missed connection; At the time of the track’s release, Tonara was candid about its inspiration, sharing that the story centered on someone who met in California while writing the album and encountered thanks to the Atlantic-sized difference between them. . Betty’s delicate sounds express complex emotions in what she says is an “enduring relationship that is also uncertain”, perfectly mirroring the open-ended relationship in the space between the lyrics, percussion and soaring synths.

The theme of falling apart in love continues in the immersive ‘Swim Back’, a song featuring London-based orchestra, The 12 Ensemble, arranged by guitarist Haefeli. Recording the ensemble cast at The Pool, a former swimming venue and current South London studio, Betty literally took the plunge. Her attention to detail pays off, as the track yearns to find connection in a relationship over a kinetic beat, string arrangements and Tonera’s distorted vocals, as she explains, “The waiting is cruel, just disintegrates / We Talk in riddles, then give up and go / We’re so vague.

On ‘Party,’ Betty strips back her complex production and turns the light away from interpersonal relationships and shines a light on our relationship with ourselves. Written under the lead of Tonera Going Sober, the song bears witness to a spirited internal monologue: “Refuse to believe there’s a problem / You see I could stop if I wanted to” she states in the lyrics. At one point, she is seen trying to “creep up the volume” in her head to drown out her inner dialogue, referring to the practice as “some stereo mind game I play with myself”.

The song stands in contrast to many of the album’s moments that focus on acutely felt emotions and instead underscores the human desire to protect oneself by drowning out any emotion. ‘Party hooks, clear lyricism on the complexity of the human experience, and simple arrangements combine to shape the brightest tracks on ‘Stereo Mind Games. It makes perfect sense that Daughter lifted the album title from then on.


  • Release date: April 7
  • Record label: Glassnote

Similar Articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here



Most Popular