The Staves - 'Dead & Born & Grown' (UK Release: 12 Nov '12) // Words: Saam Das
Watford trio The Staves deliver their debut album, following heralded live performances and appearances on albums by Fionn Regan and Tom Jones. The raw, delicate folk of the Stavely-Taylor sisters is consistently pleasant, evocative of a bygone era. Unfortunately, 'Dead & Born & Grown' is a little too unadventurous.
The music of The Staves is very much built upon the emotive vocals provided by the trio - from the outset and the stunning acapella intro of album opener, 'Wisely & Slow', that much is clear. The instrumentation slowly and serenely seeps through. It's a simple formula across the album, and perhaps too simple - as the tracks meld together in a fairly sedate fashion.
However, there are moments on 'Dead & Born & Grown' that certainly stand out, strangely following one another. The jaunty escapades of 'Winter Trees' and 'Tongue Between My Teeth' invigorate the album, while 'Mexico' sees The Staves at their most affecting, with its glorious lilting harmonies and soaring melody.
The Staves were one of our tips for 2012 but they have arguably fallen a little short of fulfilling that tag with this debut effort. Instead, a potential tip for 2013 comes to mind - another trio of sisters, HAIM, whose dynamism and musical diversity already suggests that they will maintain listener interest through next year and hopefully beyond.
The tender music of The Staves transports the listener to another place, another time but often fails to excite due to its lack of variety. Their magic is perhaps more apparent in the live setting. The simplicity on 'Dead & Born & Grown' is freeing in one sense but the heartfelt vocals deserve an expanded sound to fully embrace and amplify the inherent beauty of The Staves.
'Dead & Born & Grown' is available to purchase at amazon.co.uk. Find more info at thestaves.com.