It’s near impossible not to be drawn into the downtrodden narratives on Dead & Born & Grown. Namely, the heartache in ‘The Motherlode’, the lover’s past of ‘Winter Trees’ and the theme of death in ‘Wisely & Slow’ from siblings Jessica, Emily, and Camilla Stavely-Taylor – aka The Staves, who have just released their debut album.
The record proves that the sisters have honed their folk-inspired vocal craft for many a year in their local pub after releasing two well-received EPs that garnered approval from Bon Iver and Welsh crooner Tom Jones.
At times it’s hard to digest that The Staves indeed hail from Watford in the UK and not from some desolate part of the United States’ wild west, where Americana-tinged folk rules the roost. There’s an obvious tip of the hat to Joni Mitchell and her fellow Laurel Canyon alumni throughout Dead & Born & Grown. However, at the same time, The Staves never stray far from their homeland’s own inspired folk roots, especially with ‘Pay Us No Mind’.
Any fear that The Staves may have had in the seemingly clogged up nu-folk world is knocked on the head within the opening minute or so, as ‘Wisely & Slow’ highlights the girls’ vocal prowess via a captivating a cappella. However, while their innate ability to harmonise so effortlessly takes centre stage throughout the album, this at times leads to the record trundling along at the same pace. Dead & Born & Grown is an impressive debut, but more variation and ‘oomph’ overall could really propel the sisters to new heights.
Key Tracks: ‘The Motherlode’/’Winter Trees’/’Tongue Behind My Teeth’
This review was written for Tonedeaf (An Australian music site)