The Staves

Dead & Born & Grown

Written by: HES on 13/01/2013 19:47:30

The Staves consist of three sisters from the city of Watford, England. The folk trio started their carrier playing a local open mic. Ever since things have taken off for them, first featuring on Tom Jones’ (yes, that Tom Jones) album Praise and Blame in 2010. They struck notice when they went on tour with The Civil Wars in early 2012. They were later chosen as warm up band for critically acclaimed singer-songwriter, Bon Iver. "Dead & Born & Grown" is the first full-length album by the trio.

The Staves is not a classic British folk-band, but rather has a quite American folk-sound. This may also be one of the reasons the band has attracted more attention in the states than in Europe. The soundscape is dominated by acoustic guitars and organs. Their voices resemble each other, yet all have different personalities. It’s a great treat when they back up each other vocally. In a world where we have unfortunately become adjusted to backing vocals simply being sampled versions of the lead vocals, it’s always a nice detail when everything is made in traditional fashion.

Generally the band relies on the vocals of the three girls. It’s a no-bullshit way of making music, but tends to sound a bit like an open mic. Obviously the girls have a great backing band and one would’ve maybe liked to see the other instruments break into more character like on the more up-tempo track "Tongue Behind My Cheek". Otherwise the orchestral part of the album is quite predictable and country-folkish.

This album is not trying to push any boundries. It’s a nice folk-pop-rock album, very American Folk-inspired and in many ways right on trend. But when the market is so saturated with bands like this, it would be nice if the girls had maybe tried to put themselves apart. I’d wish for more personality, a little less polished, a little more messy. Everything goes according to plan, every single stanza is in perfect harmony, every little touch on the hi-hat is subtle and Disney-like. Even though it may not have been the plan, they kinda sound a bit like a caricature.

However praises need to be given where they are earned. Both lyrically and vocally The Staves are way up in the front of the field. The production has managed to keep this “home made” and even a bit nostalgic sound on the album – something that is easily lost in post-production. Overall it’s a good first album – but it seems like the band could easily bring more of themselves into the next one.

Download: Tongue Behind My Cheek, Mexico, Wisely & Slow
For The Fans Of: Feist, First Aid Kit, The Bonfire Band, Of Monsters And Men

Release Date 12.10.2012

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