The Staves – Dead, Born, & Grown (Rating 4.5 out of 5)
The trio collectively known as the Staves are Jessica, Camilla, and Emily Staveley-Talyor, the freshest and most angelic and beautiful voices to hit the scene since First Aid Kit in early 2012. This Glyn and Ethan Johns produced gem, the power production duo for The Rolling Stones, Ryan Adams, and Laura Marling, combines pastoral British folk with Laurel Canyon sensibilities to create an album with pitch-perfect sibling harmonies on a back-drop of lush acoustic guitars, mid-tempo beats, and poetic songwriting.
The album, their first real full length effort, comes mainly from two previously released EP’s Mexico, and The Motherlode. English sensibilities combined with an Americana influence in the Laura Marling mold seems to be all the rage these days, and here the presentation is several notches above the norm, mostly due to the sibling chemistry. The opener “Wisely and Slow” paints the picture exquisitely, and shows the tremendous power of their voices and the meshing of their vocals against an acoustical backdrop. “The Motherlode” sounds like three Joni Mitchells are trading vocals while three Joni Mitchells are singing background, with only the distinctly English phrasing to give away the secret that these girls are not from somewhere in the hills of Los Angeles.
This album is intimate on the one hand, and very accessible on the other with the top-notch production, and the exacting vocal level placement keeping the Staves in that Mumford and Sons, Dawes, and Avett Brothers world of comparisons, which is not a bad place to be. Every song here could be a single, and the videos released so far are geared to appeal to a very wide spectrum of fans, with the video of “Tongue Behind My Teeth”, also the best song on the album, set in the old west and is a visual and auditory perfect example that shows that these three rising stars know exactly where they are going and know exactly how they are going to get there. Look for The Staves to be a breakout act in 2013.