The Waifs: Temptation (Jarrah)

 |   |  <1 min read

The Waifs: Beautiful Night
The Waifs: Temptation (Jarrah)

This award-winning Australian folk-rock-blues outfit is much tougher than their fragile name suggests and over five albums, an EP and considerable touring at home and in the States (where they have recorded in Nashville, this one in Minneapolis) they have made a name for their dry, spare and harmony-embellished songs where emotions are worn upfront.

They aren't averse to a little melodic pop (the languid, 50s sounding Beautiful Night here which slurs like Rickie Lee Jones, the chipper and radio-friendly folk-pop Falling and Day Dreamer), but mostly their material is grounded in dark and religious Americana (the apocalyptic Waitsean quasi-gospel Moses and the Lamb, Temptation about Christ and the Devil in the wilderness) and songs of plaintive desperation and loss (Somedays, Goodbye Darlin) with glimpses of redemption.

Set against spacious backdrops of angular and off-kilter guitars, raw percussion, banjo, ancient piano, upright bass and the like, these 11 songs are gently lifted by the harmonies of sisters Vikki Thorn and Donna Simpson who – along with singer/guitarist Josh Cunningham – craft the leanest of lyrics which sketch in emotions and discomforts and more than narratives.

Along that lineage which runs from the troubled religiosity of the Louvin Brothers to soul-baring Lucinda Williams – which means the melodic and engaging Waifs keep fine company.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this from Sweden.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

John Mellencamp:  Life, Death, Love Freedom (Universal)

John Mellencamp: Life, Death, Love Freedom (Universal)

John Mellencamp's last album Freedom's Road was so good -- a grounded, raw and uncompromising look at America in the hinterland and heartland -- that this similarly conceived new one should attract... > Read more

Nightmares on Wax: Feelin' Good (Warp)

Nightmares on Wax: Feelin' Good (Warp)

Now this is downbeat electronica which effortlessly keeps the beats and pulses moving, but also puts the trip-hop in the same emotional space as touches of reggae (Now is the Time) and the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . THE SHAGGS: Sisters doing it for themselves

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . THE SHAGGS: Sisters doing it for themselves

When Don Emerson realised his sons Donnie and Joe had musical ambitions he was enormously supportive. He bought them instruments and then, on the family farm in Washington state, built them a... > Read more

Reverend J.M. Gates: Hitler and Hell (1941)

Reverend J.M. Gates: Hitler and Hell (1941)

The Rev Gates (b 1884) was preacher-cum-gospel singer whose style was often call-and-response in the manner of Baptist churches. He worked out of Atlanta and aside from sermonising he was a... > Read more