EP Review: The Staves – Sleeping In A Car

Jessica, Camilla and Emily Staveley-Taylor have climbed a pretty path to the indie folk spotlight. Beginning their journey as the Watford local pub, open-mic, sister singin’ trio; they’re now fresh off their Asia tour, backing Justin Vernon as bandmates of Bon Iver. Vernon recorded their last full-length album If I Was and it’s evident that his influence on their studio sound is taking The Staves‘ innocent, beautiful soft folk songs to new worlds where the sisters can use their full potential as folk goddesses.

I was a bigger fan of the natural, raw singer-songwriter style on Dead And Born And Grown than the Vernonized If I Was, but this new EP, titled Sleeping In A Car, contains the most intriguing and impressively gorgeous Staves songs in their entire catalogue right now. As soon as the first track Outlaw begins, their voices mirror birds chirping and the repeat effect of The Staves’ stunning vocal sirens serve as an alarm to our ears to pay attention to this short-lived, breakthrough EP. As one sister sings the melody, the other two echo in the background in tender, call-and-answer harmony with a chilling delay effect. The light, percussive stomp as the chorus approaches, and the lyrics of the chorus “I’m an outlaw on my own, I’m an outlaw overthrown“ creates a desert-esque cowboy vibe.

Sandwiched in at track number two, subtle but vibrant ukulele pluckings ease listeners into a beautiful bouquet of Roses. With the clever, simple and addicting hook “I don’t want to know, I don’t want to know. God I miss the snow. I don’t want to know,” The Staves successfully created the upbeat momentum of making the second track even more catchy and attractive than the first song. As the energy and tempo picks up towards the end of the song, listeners may feel a certain Winter Trees – track eight on Dead And Born And Grown – vibe as the drums start to rock out and march.

The final song, Sleeping In A Car, takes listeners to the peaceful, gorgeous crooning world of the Staveley-Taylor sister’s magic. The beginning of the song creates the mindset of a late night drive with the windows down, cruising in a beach or water town. With bouncy, staccato snare hits, the edgy tempo and beat of the song also help keep the mood exciting and fast, yet relaxed.

All three songs are very different from each other, very different from The Staves’ previous work and paint their own vivid, artistic picture. Sleeping In A Car in its entirety is an exhibit of genius writing and performing. The Staves are sure to become an even bolder presence and gain more recognition in the indie folk world from this pleasant and surprising life-changing ten and a half minutes.

Sleeping In A Car is released May 13th via Nonesuch Records.

Scott J. Herman


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