There Are More Girls Out There than Lena Dunham.
Suddenly, and without warning, a dynamic trio of English girls appeared on the scene as the most promising folk group to be seen since Fleet Foxes. After touring with The Civil Wars and Bon Iver last year, sister group The Staves declare their artistic independence by releasing a debut album. Dead & Born & Grown is a fascinating record with complex and poetic lyrics and harmonies that could melt winter frost off your windows. Not only will these folky tracks comprise the majority of spring playlists, but they also solidify The Staves as a force to be reckoned with.
The Staves are old souls. Though many of their songs are love (or lack of love) songs, the lyrics reveal some anxiety about the future, aging and losing friends. In the mournful “Gone Tomorrow,” a woman begs for more time with a friend and laments that “everybody’s / moving on”: “We will live or we will die / Still that’s something/ A beginning or an end / Something to depend and wait on / I’ve been waiting too long.” Heart-on-the-sleeve only begins to describe the sincerity of Dead & Born & Grown.
“Pay Us No Mind” seems a sarcastic declaration of womanhood and the struggles associated. “Leave the worry to the women / That’s our game to play” they sing, but by the final lines, they’re ready for battle: “You always said it’s every man for himself.” The Staves sisters have their finger on what it means to be a young woman on the cusp of independence, still clinging to the past while inching closer to the future.
Armed with a ukulele, an acoustic guitar, and three sweet voices, The Staves write thoughtful and beautiful songs—no rock ballads or bluegrass twang to be found here. Though the style of songwriting is consistent (soft, crooning, pretty), The Staves might find themselves in danger of becoming a one-trick pony. Even The Civil Wars let loose on a couple tracks. But these girls are blooming with talent, and Dead & Born & Grown proves it. Though they’re on tour in their home country now, keep your fingers crossed and maybe they’ll pop in to some U.S. festivals this summer. The American girls need them too.