Sunday, 7 April 2013

London Grammar - Metal & Dust EP Review

Up and coming trio London Grammar are destined for big things if their debut EP 'Metal & Dust' is anything to go by. I first came across the group in Brighton, performing as the support act for Tom Odell at The Haunt and I was instantly blown away by their sound, which is kind of a mix between the vocals of Lana Del Rey and the production of the Xx. Support acts are of course hit and miss but London Grammar's raw talent shone through, despite it only being their second live performance to date. As soon as I got home, I immediately downloaded their EP 'Metal & Dust' and now I can't wait for a full album from the London based trio. In the meantime, check out my review of their four-track debut and make up your own mind.

Metal & Dust

The lead single starts off restrained and mellow but builds up until lead singer Hannah Reid belts out her sweeping vocals towards the end. Thematically, the song explores the end of a relationship and likens to it to the foundations of a house, crumbling and distintegrating until all that is left is metal and dust. The central metaphor could have come across heavy-handed but instead, the subtle delivery is a brilliant showcase for the groups songwriting talent. I also love how simple the chorus is. With just a few words, so much is said.

Hey Now
The rich production takes centre stage here, helmed by group members Dot Major and Don Rothman. The guitars and snare sound beautiful together, creating a minimalist sound that gives the vocals room to breathe. 'Hey Now' is the perfect track to listen to while lying in bed late at night, slowly drifting into the music. Reid's vocals are beautiful once again and the song shows off her range without resorting to the melodramatic vocal acrobatics that so many female singers tend to get carried away with. Comparisons with the Xx are inevitable on this song but the tone also reminded me of Jamie Woon's 'Night Air', which you should definitely check out if you're a fan of this.

Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me

The third track from this EP is the one that stood out most to me when I first saw London Grammer live. The bongo playing gives it a unique sound and the lead vocals are at their best here. I love the defiance in Reid's voice as she challenges her partner to try and leave, confident that her hold on him is too strong for that to ever happen. The track almost works as a sequel to the single 'Metal & Dust', portraying the tumultuous relationship previously depicted, now coming to an end.

Hey Now (Dot Major Remix)

It's surprising in some ways that band member Dot Major didn't choose to remix lead single 'Metal & Dust', although 'Hey Now' is probably the easiest track to reimagine due to its minimalist production style. In this version of the song, 'Hey Now' has a faster pace to it and the sound is more experimental. The new production sounds more otherworldy than it did on the original and this effect is enhanced by Reid's vocals, which have been reworked into distant, ghost-like echoes reminiscent of Swedish act Fever Ray. As the song develops, synths are introduced but this track is still not an Ibiza dance remix by any means and the groups signature sound is still present here.

I'm a massive fan of London Grammar now on the strength of this EP and if their debut album doesn't become a huge indie smash, then I will be sorely disappointed. London Grammar are definitely an act to watch. Get in on the buzz now and download the EP before everyone starts talking about them.

What's your favourite track on 'Metal & Dust'? And what other artists do London Grammar remind you of? Let me know what you think by commenting, liking and sharing below. Thanks!


  1. Metal and dust is wonderful x

    1. I'm glad you like it. I'm ridiculously excited for an album now, hope all these tracks make it on!

  2. Love this entire EP. "Wasting My Young Years" is my favorite track. Heavenly vocals and minimal production is my thannnng.

    1. Wasting my young years is amazing as well. Stunning vocals and the production is so atmospheric. The album has been officially confirmed to be released this September and I can't wait!