You know how you get all wistful and nostalgic in autumn? Afternoons spent listening to Joni Mitchell and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Long trains rides through green-to-orange terrains–or something like that–need a good accompaniment. Why not The Staves?
It’s hard to find ways to describe a band without finding yourself in the pitfalls of genre. I see why this is limiting: Words can only give a general idea. They are also an art form. What I attempt to say is only an adaptation of a work that already exists in its proper medium. What I’m getting at is music is so subjective that the worst that can happen in trying to describe it is you don’t remember it and at best, you end up surprised.
So how does something get in your head? Sometimes it’s a riff, sometimes it’s the idea of it, and sometimes it’s a line: “Why is it you whisper when you really need to yell?”
With only two EPs under their belt (three if you count the live EP Live at Cecil Sharp House), the Staves sisters Emily, Jessica and Camilla Staveley-Taylor already have quite the following in their native UK. It won’t be long until it’s the same here, especially since Justin Vernon took them on tour with Bon Iver this year. The trio packs the heavy poise of Feist and First Aid Kid and they’re a lot of the reason you fell for Fleet Foxes.
It’s easy to feel an immediate connection to their sound. It sticks to the moment in which you heard it, music you put your life to. It is hard to turn away from a voice, or three voices, speaking to you in a certain timbre, volume. When the voice has been used to carry stories for thousands and thousands of years, it’s no wonder that feeling is so engrained in us. “Pay Us No Mind” off The Motherlode EP is a welcome reminder of what the voice can accomplish. It’s almost like all other instrumentation is an embellishment and the purity of these songs remains timeless. The glorious “Snow” toward the end of their upcoming first full-length Dead & Born & Grown is the culmination of all these things and ensures the album is worth your full attention from start to finish. When the Staves speak to you, address you, you want to listen – when you listen long enough to hear them you connect.
Look out for their debut Dead & Born & Grown out next week on November 13. (Produced by Ethan Johns and Glyn Johns with Laura Marling, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Bob Dylan and The Beatles!) Much of it is comprised on the The Motherlode and Mexico EPs, but it never gets old.
Watch the video for “Tongue Behind My Teeth” and stream the entire new album via The Guardian.