It was impossible for the members of Britain’s London Grammar to hide their excitement as they hopped out of a tour van in front of West Hollywood’s legendary club, the Troubadour last month to launch the band’s first American tour with a sold-out show.
The young trio of singer Hannah Reid, guitarist Dan Rothman and multi-instrumentalist Dot Major took in the storied club’s façade on Santa Monica Boulevard with wide eyes, happily snapping pictures of each other and the band’s name on the marquee.
Back in their home country of England, London Grammar is already a sensation, with the group’s debut album, If You Wait, landing at No. 2 on the UK album charts in its first week of release, second only to the Arctic Monkeys’ blockbuster LP, AM. The band’s minimal and dynamic, not to mention dramatic, sound has drawn comparisons to the xx, but Reid’s rich, powerful voice sets London Grammar apart from their influences and contemporaries alike.
Here in America, many music listeners first encountered London Grammar thanks to breakout British house music act Disclosure, who featured the band on their song “Help Me Lose My Mind,” off their Mercury Prize-nominated album, Settle. Reid’s distinctive vocal styling elevates Disclosure’s tasteful dance track into an album highlight.
“Basically, Disclosure heard a demo of the song ‘If You Wait,’ and they just liked my voice and asked to collaborate with us,” Reid explained of the song’s genesis after she and the guys settled down in the Troubadour’s front bar area for a chat. “It only took two days in the studio with them. They work really quickly. They’re really nice, very talented, especially considering they’re so young. I wrote the topline with [Disclosure member] Howard [Lawrence] and we took it from there.”