Review: Dead & Born & Grown by the Staves

Dead & Born & Grown by the StavesThe inevitable comparison when listening to the Staves’ full-length debut, at least to me, is First Aid Kit – they are three sisters from Hertfordshire with a thing for vocal harmonies. But while those girls have focused on pastoral folk and segued towards Americana, these girls have their sights firmly on Laura Marling’s brand of nu-folk, only with less pained vocals. Tracks like “Mexico”, and particularly “Snow”, tread towards that, but the harmonies turn it into a different thing, taking control and preventing the album from sounding like a tripled rehash. “Winter Trees” has a sweetness you’d never see in Laura (and this is no diss), while album starter “Wisely & Slow” does what it says on the tin: focus on the strengths, and slowly build to a climax. The Staves may have stuck to their comfort zones far too much on this one, but it’s a decent start. | 4/5

“Hold your peace forever and be damned.”

“Tongue Behind My Teeth” by the Staves | The Guardian website’s New Band of the Day feature compared the Staves to Laura Marling, and for good reason: these sisters do have their way around words and guitars, although they don’t sound as pastoral as Laura (not that it’s a bad thing). The inevitable comparison, if you ask me, is with my current darlings of the moment, First Aid Kit: sisters with harmonies in guitars, simply. And that’s why I like them. They just released their debut album, Dead & Born & Gone, last month, and apparently they’re also picking up some steam in the United States – another sign of nu-folk (and slight Americana, in First Aid Kit’s case) crossing the pond thanks to Mumford & Sons‘ success. I hope to hear a lot of this sort of stuff in the coming months, because it really would make for an antidote to, well, this.