Saturday sounds: London Grammar

One listen is all it took. An ethereal sound from a single guitar and a keyboardist — and a captivating vocal. Who is this enticing band?

They are London Grammar, a British trio with a lovely, soothing sound. Hearing vocalist Hannah Reid on “Hey Now” reminded me immediately of Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, yet with a signature sound all her own.

An arts writer at the Michigan Daily, the independent student newspaper at the University of Michigan, said this about Reid and the band’s debut album “If You Wait.”

“I’ve been listening to all 11 tracks non-stop for a few months now (thank you Spotify gods). Usually this over-playing leads me to sickness, but I have a theory that Reid’s voice could cure cancer. It’s angelic yet brooding, pure yet fierce, consuming yet ethereal. Her range is incredibly wide, flirting swiftly between a deep chest voice and tragic falsetto. Florence Welch is first to mind, but Reid fills the room with melancholy melodies that swoon with little support, unlike Florence who’s backed by her grand group of Machines.”

The band has been playing together for only a few years. Reid and guitarist Dan Rothman met as freshmen at the University of Nottingham in 2009. They added Dominic Majors on keyboards and drums the following year, then moved to London in 2011 to pursue a career.

The good news: I’ve discovered this band relatively early. They released their album in the U.K. last September, but it just dropped in the U.S. in March.

The bad news: I just missed them live in Portland. They were here in late March at the Wonder Ballroom. Given the critical acclaim, their recent appearances on the David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel shows, and a growing fan base they are sure to develop on their tour, I have every expectation that tickets are going to be very hard to come by next time they come through.

Hannah Reid is amazing. And with looks like hers, that’s only going to help people take notice.of this talented trio.


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