Given that they have been there or thereabouts on the scene for a while, you might have expected The Staves’ debut album to have arrived before now, catching the wave left by the success of Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling. After all today’s new acoustic scene is potentially tomorrow’s forgotten movement. Luckily for the English sisters, the love affair with musical space and simplicity shows no sign of abating and thus Dead & Born & Grown arrives with a ready made audience waiting to listen.
Of these, it is those who fell for the subtler charms of Ms Marling who will perhaps prove most receptive. The Staves aren’t about to start jumping through hoops to attract attention now. Thus the record takes its own sweet time to move into anything approaching a second gear. ‘Wisely & Slow’ is an apt title for the opening track, a largely vocal number that is as warm and inviting as an open fire on a cold night – and equally as likely to leave you rested rather than wanting to take on the world and smash the system.
Nothing really changes as you move through the record. The production by father and son team Glyn and Ethan Jones perfectly balances their influences, merging a pretty Englishness with a lush, West Coast folk sound. Resisting the temptation to bolster the trio, we are left with a simple combination of voices and instruments. It may leave them slightly lacking on stage but, when experienced in the intimate surroundings of your own listening experience, it works like a charm. What’s more, by hitching themselves to a classic, timeless sound as opposed to a current fad, The Staves will surely ensure they’ll be around long after the fairweather brigade have moved on.