Californian Soil

London Grammar - Californian Soil
Critic Score
Based on 21 reviews
2021 Ratings: #313 / 513
User Score
Based on 273 ratings
2021 Ratings: #427
Liked by 8 people
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The Line of Best Fit

Californian Soil is London Grammar in an act of gradual evolution, signs hinted at on their sophomore outing but blossoming to a greater extent here; retaining an ability to innovate within the parameters of their synonymously plush electronic soul.


This meditative journey soothes and nourishes, transforming heartbreak and pain into an opportunity for growth, bolstered with some of the best production sonics that the trio have ever delivered. Californian Soil is a standout in London Grammar's catalog and a significant step forward in the trio's artistic maturation.


Californian Soil finds Reid squarely positioned as the central embodiment of the group’s ethos, her voice more empowered and forthcoming in confronting her anxieties than can be heard across its two precursors.

Northern Transmissions
The strongest sound here are the words that are being sung by Reid. With vocals as raw and powerful as hers, and with tracks as meaningful and bold as the ones featured on this album, it’s no wonder why London Grammar is as beloved a group as they are.
Fizzing with club sounds and filled with bright lyricism, London Grammar are more confident, and more fun, than they’ve ever been.
Whether it’s building sweeping, twisting sound spaces that swell, heaving with macrocosmic build-ups, or simply serenading us with a silken voice and a few well-placed synths, ‘Californian Soil’ is an unmissable foray in pop, rich in meaning and abundant in bangers.
A record of sheer beauty and one that finds London Grammar at the absolute top of their game.
The Telegraph
The only problem I foresee is that, in retreat from the glare of stardom, London Grammar have come up with an album almost certain to bring them more of it. Sometimes it really is the quiet ones you have to watch out for.
The Independent
Melodies feel constructed around the cathedral architecture of Reid’s pure, classically influenced vocals, which rise in soaring – often breathy – arches capable of carrying more emotional weight than you’d expect.
Evening Standard

With some huge shows on the horizon, the trio have bolstered their music to sway the masses.


Californian Soil mirrors a coming-of-age era for London Grammar, with a structural depth that radiates their signature opperatic blues, but also with a sense groove and confidence in more spoken word tracks such as “Missing”.

Under The Radar
It’s a sumptuous album, imbued with lush ethereal beauty and one in which Reid has clearly poured her emotions into.
Record Collector

London Grammar return with a confident, assured album ... As elegant as it appears, Californian Soil has hidden depths.

The Forty-Five
There are slight stumbles as they venture beyond their characteristic sound, with the recent single ‘How Does It Feel’ sitting awkwardly like an ill-fitting chart-pop suit, but ‘Californian Soil’ is a broadly inviting and compelling offering from an evolving band.
The UK electronic-pop trio’s third album draws on a renewed sense of extroversion and energy, which can’t always overcome its lyrical and production missteps.
The Irish Times

Californian Soil may not have the same commercial thrust as their celebrated debut, but three albums in, London Grammar continue to make consistently interesting records.

The Guardian
Moments of excitement notwithstanding, the result is a frustratingly tentative step from a band who promised bolder strides this time around.
Spectrum Culture
What could have been a powerful EP has been stretched and worked into a rougher full-length LP. While the “extra” tracks are not the group’s most effective, some of them show a band in the process of experimenting and growing.
The Sydney Morning Herald
For fans of London Grammar’s chart-topping sophomore album this third instalment will feel comparatively flat, lacking the charismatic pop-tinged hymns that Reid once recited with haunting reverie.
London Grammar’s collective personality so far has approximated as ‘sentient Ibiza chillout compilation’, and third full-length ‘California Soil’ isn’t likely to do much to change this.
Slant Magazine

Their third album, Californian Soil, is so “current,” filled with so many of-the-moment trends, that it winds up feeling anonymous.

A turn with potential, not yet realised

I've been a fan of London Grammar for years now. I was completely mesmerised by the music video for Strong back in 2013 and immediately went out to get the album it was from, If You Wait, the group's debut. A wonderful record that borrowed from Trip-Hop and Dream Pop to create lush, but spacious atmosphere's that were incredibly easy to get lost in.

I'm going to get this out of the way: Hannah Reid has a fantastic voice. A rich tone that gently pulls ... read more
When the old dress is starting to wear out, trying on a different look instead of getting a similar-looking dress is often the best course of action. In avoiding the total embarrassment of bands such as Of Monsters and Men, who decided to unconditionally embrace the contemporary sounds of pop music by adorning a hideously ugly clown outfit, London Grammar have instead merely skinny dipped into an indietronica-lite sound; sporting a modest midrift... and shit, it kinda works!
mark this a 92
Maybe I’m a tad biased because Lose Your Head has been one of my anthems since the very beginning of the year, but I absolutely love a couple of the cuts on this record.

The production on the record is really solid, tracks like Baby It’s You and How Does It Feel really stand out to me because of it. They feel so cinematic from drenched in this groovy bass-driven atmospheric bliss and while the songwriting is a bit generic, this record has a really solid groove to it. Definitely ... read more
When I saw that London Grammar was releasing a new album after a while since their last I was pretty excited, but hearing 'Californian Soil' I'm not really sure if this one works. I mean.... it's not a terrible album, there's some highlights like 'Lose Your Head', 'How Does It Feel', Californian Soil', the rest of the songs I don't care about. I made a choice to not hear any single pre album release to feel more connected to the album as a whole and now I realize that perhaps I should've ... read more
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Added on: October 1, 2020