Friday 18 December 2015

Albums of 2015 #2 The Staves - If I Was

If there’s one theme running through Breaking More Waves’ albums of 2015 list it’s that many of these artists have already featured either on past album of the year lists or Ones to Watch lists. With their second album Watford’s finest singing sister trio The Staves deliver on the prediction we made back in 2011 when we named them as One to Watch for 2012. “If that album sounds anything like the beautiful Mexico ….. it wouldn’t be a surprise if it finds itself on quite a few end of year lists come next December.” 

OK, that prediction may have been made of their first record Dead & Born & Grown which ultimately was decent but not outstanding, but it actually comes good on their second. 

For If I Was is an immaculate collection of songs that finds the band growing broader and bolder with their sound. Whilst the delicate wispy harmonies are ever present (and ever more beautiful) and the music is sometimes as gentle as a patient lovers touch, this record is also full of ambitious sonic dynamics. Yes, in places The Staves even ROCK! 

The arrangements of every tune on this album are absolutely perfect, irrespective of if they contain crashing drums, horns, strings or just simple plucked guitars. Much has been made of Bon Iver’s involvement in this record and it seems that he has pushed The Staves beyond what we could have ever imagined they could do when we first came across them in 2011. It’s one of those rare long players where we don’t have a favourite song, because every single one is almost too perfect.

Back in January we published a post called Albums of 2015 – Our End of Year List. On it we listed newly released albums that we’d listened to that month and questioned if any of them would make it through to the end of the year as favourites. At the time, Charli XCX’s record Sucker was our most played. The Staves was our third. By the end of the year it’s just those two that made the final cut. If I Was finishes way above Charli, in second place overall, indicating just how many times we’ve played this wonderful body of work in 2015. 

The Staves - Black & White (Video)

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