Music Review: Truth Is a Beautiful Thing
London Grammar’s Hannah Reid has a stunning vocal range, and her two bandmates hold the 27-year-old singer’s dark lyrics and deep, smoky voice within an atmosphere of understated attention. The opening song on this second album from London Grammar—Truth Is a Beautiful Thing—is an ambitious, operatic piece titled “Rooting for You.” Reid begins the journey a cappella, establishing her voice as the centerpiece of the album, and is then joined by a sweeping cinematic string section. These atmospheric tunes are emotional, mysterious, and full of longing. Reid sings, “I’d love to always love you / But I’m scared of loneliness / when I’m alone with you…”
Since their 2013 debut album (If You Wait) London Grammar have toured with Coldplay and become an important contributor to the slow-tempo side of the electronic dance music world. Reid’s singing (and piano) is sweetly complemented by Dan Rothman on guitar and Dominic “Dot” Major on percussion and synth. While remaining subtle, the instrumentation is alive. As a single piano note pulses into the song “Big Picture,” Reid asks mournfully, “Love, what did you do to me?” The delayed electric guitar and rhythm section is reminiscent of the iconic sound of U2’s “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”
Truth Is a Beautiful Thing paints a picture of a hand reaching out for understanding and connection. The album builds gradually, and by the time Reid sings the anthemic “Oh Woman, Oh Man” it’s impossible not to feel the sense of yearning that can permeate the human heart.