- 05 Feb 21
Watford sisters return with moving exploration of womanhood.
Their enchanting blood harmonies once embodied a timeless innocence and a youthful idealism – but six years after the release of their last studio album, The Staves have returned with an outlook informed by the passage of time, the sudden loss of their mother, the birth of Emily’s first child, and the breakdown of relationships. The result is Good Woman: a work of slow-burning brilliance and impressive emotional depth.
2015’s Justin Vernon-produced If I Was added welcome depth to the airy indie-folk sound of their 2012 debut Dead & Born & Grown. At its best, the trio’s new album takes this progression further still, with a newfound maturity reflected in the empathetic lyrical gems scattered throughout. While originality is occasionally lost in the filler, this is The Staves’ most accessible outing yet – combining electronic touches and a gritty live energy that draws from Fleetwood Mac (particularly on the title-track) and The Roches, as well as the more contemporary sounds of Feist, Sharon Van Etten and First Aid Kit. The influence of the latter, who The Staves toured with in 2018, is especially evident on ‘Failure’ – centred around the strangely catchy and cathartic singalong refrain: “I’m a failure nowww.”
In fact, the album’s greatest strength lies in this recurring sense of release, and an acceptance of the fact that, although the sadness never truly fades, life goes on. To The Staves, becoming a Good Woman means letting go – and learning to live with pain, without ever fully giving in to it.