Girls that rock: Elena Tonra of Daughter

Since their debut in 2010, Daughter has made quite a name for themselves exploring the softer, and more dour side of lo-fi indie rock. With only two eps and one full length under their belt, this European trio has managed to carve out an engaging and accessible sound full of lush instrumentation and haunting vocals. While this timbre is definitely a group effort, it’s hard to imagine the band’s impact without their leader—guitarist, vocalist Elena Tonra.

With Tonra at the helm, Daughter has created a distinct identity that has less to do with their sound and more to do with their utilization of sound. What does this mean exactly? Minimalism. Tonra (and company) furnish angelic vocals and sweet instrumentation across unexpectedly uninhabited musical landscapes. As a result, there is a drama added to each track that allows for more visceral sincerity and much greater heft.

This minimalistic approach is perhaps Daughter’s greatest attribute. More often than not, artists tend to over crowd tracks with layers of instrumentation, electronics, and other production tools. While this works for some, it can create a sense of commonplace for others. Luckily, Tonra is able to steer Daughter clear of these mechanisms. Instead, she uses her voice to navigate reverb-laden guitars, light percussion, and echoing electronic touches with exact precision.

Daughter often explores the darker side of life in both their music and words.  Though heavy themes and over-dramatization can cut accessibility, Tonra manages to avoid this shortcoming primarily through her grounded lyricism. Tracks play more like stories than vocabulary lessons. As such, they’re able to convey common themes and emotions more genuinely—which ultimately allows listeners to gravitate towards a more concrete emotional core.

As stated previously, Daughter is definitely a group effort; however, it’s undoubtedly clear that Tonra serves as the emotional anchor and compass of this band. Sad indie rock may be nothing new, but Daughter serves a refreshingly grounded take on an increasingly populated genre.

Article by Michael Ventimiglia

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