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The Staves

Dead & Born & Grown (Atlantic)

Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., March 15, 2013

SXSW 2013 Records

The Staves

Dead & Born & Grown (Atlantic)

Highlighting harmonies right up front, the Staves open their debut a cappella on "Wisely & Slow." While UK trio of sisters Emily, Jessica, and Camilla Staveley-Taylor prove natural complements, they offer little beyond that and subdued folk. Meditative almost to a fault on "Gone Tomorrow," "The Motherlode," and the title track, the undeniably subtle beauty of their tunes becomes lost in the lack of variation. Likewise, the songwriting trends to predictable formulas of ruminations upon nature leading to contemplations of love and loss, as on "In the Long Run," "Winter Trees," and "Facing West." The latter's whistles and coos smack of incongruity, out of touch with the song's desolation. "Pay Us No Mind" proves the exception, with its casual, bluesy tones melting into trilling harmony, and "Snow" offers more complex emotional textures, but the sisters still need to broaden their scope to stave off mediocrity. (9:15pm, St. David's Historic Sanctuary)

**

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