London Grammar - 'Californian Soil'

7/10

During the touring process for their 2017 sophomore album 'Truth Is A Beautiful Thing', London Grammar found themselves in a state of flux and disillusionment. With relentless sexism being directed at frontwoman Hannah Reid, not to mention the touring playing havoc with her fibromyalgia, the band decided to take a hiatus from the shows in order to think about what they wanted to do next. But during this time, they found the lack of stress and workload a freeing experience that allowed them to try and discover new ideas and concepts. This then resulted in their third LP 'Californian Soil', a record that sees them focus on their main desires.

What is most noticeable about this new collection is how trimmed down it feels compared to their older work. While they have made a name for themselves with bold and soaring aesthetics, 'Californian Soil' is about the humble atmosphere within their direction, focusing itself more on the songwriting than production as a result. While there is still this distinct London Grammar texture running the length of the collection, it feels like they are looking to create a release that levels down the fanfare in order to create a something that pulls you closer rather than looks to blow you away.

It may not have the same instant grab that their first two full-lengths had, but 'Californian Soil' still manages to pack in plenty of rich and enjoyable cuts throughout. It feels like this is the next evolutionary step in their sound, something that they are more comfortable in and doesn't pander to the expectations of the critical landscape.

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