The Lowdown: Eight years after their last release, post-hardcore experimentalists Daughters return with an LP that deconstructs their sound and reanimates it into a whole new sonic monster. Building off the groove and melody that informed their self-titled 2010 album, the four-piece expands and darkens the tonality, utilizing guitar effects and keyboards that sound even more alien than before. Groove remains a common element, but many tracks eclipse five minutes with moderate tempos, minimalist industrial instrumentation, and punishing drum work. Vocalist Alexis SF Marshall adds an element of Nick Cave to a delivery that already echoes Jesus Lizard’s David Yow.
The Good: “City Song” immediately announces You Won’t Get What You Want as unafraid to tread new ground. It’s slow, cold, and noisy, and it nicely sets up the clangorous, mid-tempo “Long Road, No Turns”. “Satan in the Wait” follows with more dissonance, a sludgy bass line, and a twist: a melodic passage that sounds like bells run through effects pedals. The band’s brand of whirring guitars and breakneck speed doesn’t make an appearance until the fourth track, “The Flammable Man”, but it hasn’t lost a step. “The Reason They Hate Me” is the most straight-ahead banger of the 10 songs, and “Daughter” delivers off-kilter, warbling, reverberating effects whose range is emblematic of the album at large.
The Bad: By the penultimate, seven-and-a-half-minute “Ocean Song”, the album’s elongated structures are a bit fatiguing. Marshall’s discordant yelps and spoken-word narratives are unique but one can’t help but yearn for some singing as a respite or contrast.
The Verdict: Despite the layoff between albums, Daughters have reinvented themselves once again. The sounds that guitarist/keyboardist Nick Sadler gets out of instruments are unparalleled, and his frenetic fret work — though utilized much less often on this album — also has few contemporaries in style. Fans hoping for a repeat of the accessibility and groove of the self-titled album or the spasticity and rawness of earlier albums might be disappointed, but You Won’t Get What You Want is a brave and excellent addition to Daughters’ discography.
Essential Tracks: “Long Road, No Turns”, “Satan in the Wait”, “The Flammable Man”, “Less Sex”, “Daughter”, “The Reason They Hate Me”