Album Review: The Staves – Dead & Born & Grown (Atlantic Records; 2012)

BY EMILY THORNHILL @EmmyThornhill

           After the release of three EPs, numerous live recordings and widely successful US, UK and Eire tours, the three Watford-born sisters; Emily, Jessica and Camilla, otherwise known as The Staves, have finally released their first full-length album: Dead & Born & Grown!

Snapped up by Atlantic Records after the huge UK Folk revival and the unparalleled success of fellow London-based Indie/Folk/Rock band Mumford & Sons, The Staves have remained firmly in the limelight! Supporting the likes of Bon Iver can only foreshadow their forthcoming worldwide success!

The album opens up with the stripped back song “Wisely & Slow”. This song not only showcases the sisters’ beautiful tonal connection throughout, but also allows the listener to slowly drift into The Staves astonishing comparison with musical legend Joni Mitchell.

While the album Dead & Born & Grown may seem gentle and heartfelt, the exquisite execution of their simple harmonies combined with lackadaisical acoustic guitar melodies cannot be faulted. This can be seen in the songs “Mexico” and “The Motherlode” where the lyrics “At the banks of the river, forever the same / though no water flows here, the memory stays,” sang repeatedly, demonstrate their alluring tone.

However, songs like “Pay Us No Mind” and “Tongue Behind my Teeth” show moments of great passion and plunge you into American Folk tradition. Throughout the entirety of the album, The Staves lyrics never allow the listener to become complacent, “I don’t give a fuck” and “I know it would do no good/ but I’d hurt you if I could” keep the listeners firmly on their feet.

While the nu-folk revival may mean great competition for up and coming artists such as The Staves: Emily, Jessica and Camilla allow the listeners to hear something quite new and beautiful. Their faultless talent, charming vocal harmonies and the trio’s simple formula confirm the album’s success and deserve the highest recognition.

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