The Staves ‘Wisely and Slow’

You can be forgiven with feeling that this group’s title almost gives away the feel of their composition which is featured on this week’s iTunes single of the week. That of ‘staves’ in music; something on which music is written and built and which remains iconically simplistic. So, these women seem to do with just one track.

The Staves are an acoustic folk rock trio; a family hailing from Watford, England.They are Emily, Jessica and Camilla Staveley (really a rather clever use of their surname). The three actually come across as being very funny and down to earth when you visit their website which adds to their likeable appeal.

These girls seem to already be doing extremely well in the US, which is why they might have been picked as this weeks artists. Having already supported the likes of Bon Iver and The Civil Wars (also extremely good) on tour, the girl’s have also appeared on Tom Jones’ 2010 album ‘Praise and Blame’; which in itself speaks volumes.

Their song ‘Wisely and Slow’ comes from what seems like their first fully fledged debut album ‘Dead & Born & Grown’ outside of many EP’s released to much acclaim over the past three years.

The Staves will be touring the UK and Eire this November.

Wisely and slow begins with an almost haunting a cappella -so simplistic- that, right off the bat it feels like it becomes a statement song – one of those that resonant powerfully in your ears and in your mind- until you might find yourself humming along hours later.

The track is very much country folk. There’s no accompaniment what so ever at the beginning, though it feels like the layers of vocals combined and leaning on each other is all the ‘instrumental’ needed. The voices are beautiful themselves, and the track lends itself well to the power of well timed and pitch perfect, gentle unobtrusive harmonies, that in turn lends itself a resonating ethereal tone and a very entrancing quality which helps to focus on the ageless story of love and devotion that builds upon itself in the lyrics. All of which helps to transport you mentally to the hot heavy evenings of a late Southern American state. This also lends itself to comparison with groups such as The Dixie Chicks (with their a cappella version of Landslide) and groups such as The Andrews Sisters or The McGarrigle Sisters.

The track builds slowly and again very, very simply (so simply you almost don’t notice it) by adding a layer of organ chords – in an almost church like quality, which notches up the intensity of the vocals and the intensity of the stirring emotional punch that completes the cinematic quality of the entire track.

By the time we get to the third verse, however, it is worth mentioning that the difference here as opposed to other tracks of this kind, is that this particular track continues on this vein slightly longer than necessary. While not to it’s detriment, it does feel as if the arrangement change needs to come in a lot sooner. It would not have gone amiss if the chorus at this point could have come in with a more upbeat drum instrumental for a more climatic ending, as the track was in danger of dragging on slightly.

Nevertheless not to worry, the song does become more upbeat, once drumbeats are added and when the music then builds (with a very brief Hank Marvin ‘Apache’ guitar riff) the vocals are stripped away to humming. Almost in reverse of the beginning which while adding a slightly odd contrast to the entirety of the piece, it just about works, though, it might have worked a lot tighter if the main chorus had continued on.

This weeks download is definitely an interesting one, there to make you think a bit more. Definitely worth a download and a few listens as it is a grower.


Download Wisely and Slowly

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