The Staves - Dead & Born & Grown
It's rare that you can describe an artist or album as comforting. Sure they can radiate good vibes, or lift you just enough to make that drizzle outside seem to evaporate. But I can't remember the last time I listened to an album whilst waiting at the bus stop, on that horrible tilted bench most councils seem to favour, that made me feel like I was back home reclining in an old, well worn chair with an open fire next to me.
Well, if you hadn't guessed as much already, The Staves' debut album Dead & Born & Grown has that effect on me. Sure, our student house doesn't have an open fire or even a comfortable chair for me to recline in, but that should give you an indication of the feelings The Staves conjure up on this album.
Made up of three sisters Emily, Jessica and Camilla they grew up with music surrounding them whilst they sang harmonies together with their parents. They've carried those harmonies with them to this album. Opening track 'Wisely and Slow' introduces only a solitary organ half way through to accompany their siren calls until a humming harmony breakdown leads you into a hand-capping, drum thumping finale.
There's certainly an Americana feel to some of the tracks on this album, quite the stretch from their Watford roots. But influences like Neil Young and Paul Simon definitely make their presence known on tracks like 'The Motherload' that are so lovingly crafted they're just a joy to experience.
What's more, the girls seem to be adeptly versed in every form of folk you can think of. 'Pay Us No Mind' is a sauntering slow and drunken waltz that culminates in a feeling of collapsing onto a bed with the line "fare thee well / I don't give a fuck anymore," a line that'll be bouncing about yoru own head as you fall into your drunken stupor. Whereas 'Facing West' is a ukulele based hangover wonder cure with a line, "Sing me a song / your voice is like silver," that could very easily apply to the band and their silky smooth vocals themselves.
There are a few songs that you probably won't remember for the rest of your life. But they're effortlessly eclipsed by tracks like 'Mexico' that so perfectly encapsulates the simplistic and comforting feeling of listening to this album and all it's welcoming vibes that you may not notice the average, but they'll still do you a world of good.
Now this review will get a 7.5. And you may thik that after all the praise I've been heaping on the band that it's a little low. But I work off a scoring system many seem to have forgotten. 5 is average. 6 is good. 7 is very good. 8 is must have in record collection. 9 is album of the year material. 10 is reserved for Brand New and Elliott Smith.
"I think being sung to is the nicest thing in the world." Emily once stated "And I would hope, that this is what people feel when they hear us sing.'' my whole review could be replaced by that one statement.