Watford Trio The Staves may stray from the beaten path at times, but the depth of their sisterly bond always guides them back to their woody, folk roots. The ethereal tones of the performers are in demand. Jessica laid down vocals for Leonard Cohan's final posthumous record Thanks For The Dance, and all three- Jess, Emily and Camilla- sang out on a handful of tracks to enhance Paul Weller's number 1 album, On Sunset. But now, six years down the line, the arrival of their fifth album Good Woman, self-produced with assistance from John Congleton (Everything Everything), has restored fires.
If the spirited Cottingley Fairies sang as they danced by the stream under lilac light, this would be their harmonious sound. Single Satisfied feels like an acoustic emission until the chorus transforms into an 80s fuelled Willson Philips ballad carried to the modern-day with its current synths. Arranging the words, the songwriting tells of a selfish character where it seems that nothing is ever enough, "And you don't know why, (Why would you do it like that?) Ooh, you're never satisfied."
In their gentle yet compelling way, the Staveley-Taylor siblings collected their thoughts and affirmations stemming from recent occasions of the ending of relationships, the birth of Emily's first baby and the death of the girl's treasured mother. In opener Good Woman, the track champions having faith in oneself with smart vocal agility, determined bass and drums that never waiver, adding power as the song surges and intensifies the point.
Best Friend ups the pace. Influential piano composing is the motivating force in this piece, capturing a 'you and me against the world' attitude: 'We could be better than all of them," which is in a contrasting light to the production of Trying where the singing glides over softly supporting and tender music. This beautiful weaved basket of twelve songs illustrates its feminine, rose-petaled appearance, but is underpinned by unassuming strength in dealing with what life unveils.
Article by Beverley Knight