rachel-connolly
6th April 2015

Album: The Staves – If I Was

The Staves build on their folk-rock formula on their second album
Album: The Staves – If I Was

Released 23rd March

Atlantic Records

8/10

Is folky guitar music still relevant? It is an interesting question. Hip-hop, r’n’b, experimental music, electronic music, really all the other ‘musics’ mutate over the years (through experiment or necessity), into fresh forms of themselves that always seem current. The guitar and singer formula, on the other hand often seems tired, exhausted even. But every now and then an artist comes along who does something so authentic and beautiful with this simple formula that it makes you forget the question; The Stave sisters are three such artists.

Their beautiful second album, If I Was, is apparently the impromptu product of a visit to Wisconsin; to stay in the home/studio of Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, whom they befriended while supporting on tour a few years back. If I Was is the natural progression of Dead and Born and Grown; time-matured to a richer and subtler sound which retains the same vocal dynamic between the band. The remote Wisconsin forest where they made the album may explain the interesting wintry sound of the album and the themes of isolation that feature.

The lack of second album weirdness is probably due to this spontaneous album conception. Sitting down with no planning, reportedly not even telling their label, cuts out the tense period of time pressured studio bickering, although as sisters, The Staves have probably already had a lifetime to bicker out creative differences anyway. If I Was is measured and carefully judged and no track seems rushed or slap dash.

The vast majority of the album is a hit, personal highlights are recent single ‘Blood I Bled’, ‘No me, No You, No More’ and closing tracks ‘Teeth White’ and ‘Sadness Don’t Own Me Anymore’ are interesting and memorable. Infact the only miss on the album is ‘Black and White’, a karaoke sounding number that jars with the rest of the album, but the less said about that the better and it is followed by the brilliant ‘Damn It All’, so easily forgotten.

I suppose the answer to the initial question is yes, if done well, or in the wiser words of Bert Lance, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”


More Coverage

Live Review: Lea Salonga at Bridgewater Hall

Live Review: Lea Salonga at Bridgewater Hall

Theatre Editor Jay Darcy reviews Lea Salonga’s Dream Again Tour at the Bridgewater Hall
Live Review: Peaches brings her Teaches to Manchester

Live Review: Peaches brings her Teaches to Manchester

Head Music Editor Sarah Taylor reviews Peaches’ stop at the O2 Ritz on her Teaches of Peaches 20th anniversary tour.
Live Review: Horsegirl at YES Manchester

Live Review: Horsegirl at YES Manchester

Kevin Thomas reviews Horsegirl’s enthralling show at YES Manchester
Saint Etienne Live Review: Back with a splash

Saint Etienne Live Review: Back with a splash

Izzy Langhamer reviews the latest ‘Saint Etienne’ gig, which saw them perform latest releases from ‘I’ve Been Trying To Tell You’, as well as fan favourites and 90s hits

Copyright © The Mancunion
Powered By Spotlight Studios

0161 275 2930  University of Manchester’s Students’ Union, Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9PR

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap