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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 13 November 2012
Plenty has been written about the harmonies which are unfailingly lovely throughout this album. Harmonies, or any musicianship, without the underlying songs to support them are pretty pointless so I'm pleased to announce that the songs here are strong themselves and would probably sound perfectly respectable without the aforementioned harmonies. The accompaniment is, for the most part subtle and mixed well down with a few notable exceptions where electric guitars, bass and drums kick in to great effect. The production on this album is as crisp and clear as you'd expect from the combination of Glyn and Ethan Johns and the girls have clearly decided not to drench the whole thing in reverb in the style of those other notable harmonisers The Fleet Foxes. Listen through headphones and the vocals sound as though they are being whispered in your ear which is, in my opinion, exactly as it should be when the vocals are the undisputed strong point of the band.

One very slight criticism of the album as a whole would be that there is a certain uniformity of mood and "feel" to these songs. It's all a bit safe, all a bit nice and even when the F word is used it is dropped into the song in a slightly apologetic way as though it were the only thing they could think of to rhyme with "luck". A very minor criticism though and it should not deter you from checking out this wonderful album. It's come from the same stable as Marling, Mumfords, Emmy, Noah, Flynn and co but in my opinion surpassed them all at the first attempt.
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on 12 March 2013
I love this album - and I'm particularly pleased that such a strong, roots based album could be produced by homegrown talent. I put it on just after I'd bought it and my wife, passing through the living room, thought I was playing a track from the "Oh Brother Where Art Though" soundtrack - it is that good.
The girls' voices are exquisite throughout. Obviously, being sisters, the harmonies are particularly strong but you still have that feeling that they've crafted the relationship of their individual voices and really worked to get the very best from each of their songs. For me, as a debut album, this is faultless. I shall watch their developing career with great interest - The Staves are the real deal.
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With due respect to the good citizens of Watford the town's impact on the musical world has not been one to date that has stood out for any special attention or distinction. This massive injustice could soon end not least with the arrival of three sisters namely Emily, Jessica and Camilla Stavely-Taylor whose "Dead & Born & Grown" under the name of the Staves is an exquisite debut packed with soaring note perfect harmonies and songs of such quality that they should come with a kite mark. The presence of Glyn and Ethan Johns on production duties for the first time working in a pairing may offer clues to the overall excellence contained herein. Between them this father and son team have produced an endless list of rock greats including Crosby Stills and Nash, Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams, Ray LaMontagne, Emmylou Harris, Laura Marling and the Band of Horses whose influences are to be found within the grooves of this album. Mining the deep vein of Americana has been a speciality of both producers and they carve out of the Staves a sound which fully acknowledges their English Folk roots but at the same time has a lifting breezy West Coast feel; recent slots for sisters often across the US supporting Willy Mason, the Civil Wars and Bon Iver has undoubtedly cemented this association.

The album kicks off with the absolutely scintillating and mostly a cappella "Wise and slowly" a hymenal that should turn the Fleet Foxes green with envy as they sing of how a "Tender woman mourns a man/sits in silent sorrow/with a bottle in her hand". The hint of an mournful organ about 90 seconds in eventually speeds to a rousing conclusion and hits a musical bullseye. In "Gone Tomorrow" the sisters manage to evoke the pastoral sounds that Texan wonders Midlake captured on the "Courage of others", while the slow building love lorn "Pay us no mind" shows its not all sweetness and light as the sisters acerbically comment "fare thee well, I don't give a f*** anymore". Like Sweden's finest First Aid Kit the overriding ambience created by the Staves is that of a timeless quality and a feeling that this surely can't be a debut album. The nice touch of a ukulele on the gossamer light "Facing West" almost conjures up a image of an alt country version of the Andrew Sisters and throws in a whistle solo for good measure. It all sounds a bit trite but it works perfectly. An album standout is the moody "Winter trees" harking back to the sort of natural mystery that Sandy Denny effortlessly captured in an all to brief recording career; when the song picks up the pace in its second half it is completely irresistible. Seek out the video of this on Sofar Sounds and check out the magic of three musicians working together with a telepathy that can only come from their shared family bond. It is the start of something truly special. This is confirmed by the brilliant jangling "Tounge behind my teeth" whose harmonies grab the listener by the throat and refuse to let go. The tender "Snow" certainly owes a debt to Laura Marling and what's wrong with that as a set of new and excellent musicians tip a nod to one of the best on the block?

Things are rounded off with the longest tune on the album the plaintive rolling country of "Eagle Song", concluding one of the most sure footed and sumptuous debuts in a very long time. There is in addition a hidden track on which all sisters take a vocal turn and bring forth echoes of the music that soundtracked the Coen's great bluegrass revivalist film "Oh brother, where art thou?". It should be noted in addition that one of the songs on this album is entitled "The Motherlode" a term usually associated with the hitting of an abundant or rich source of silver or gold. Listen to the Staves and you will experience the musical equivalent of this.
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on 2 May 2013
Every now and then a band will slip under the radar, but you somehow stumble upon it. These local girls are a prime example of good, honest, no nonsense music - without the need for glitz and glamour. Letting the music do the talking.
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VINE VOICEon 19 November 2012
I first reviewed the beautiful Mexico EP and suggested that 2012 would be the year of The Staves. It seems that 2012 has been a little late catching up, but with the release of this debut album, The Staves are right in the thick of it at last. Support slots with Michael Kiwanuka and Bon Iver, along with visits to Jools Holland on the BBC have showcased this fantastic collection of understated guitars and gorgeous harmonies.

There's folk, country, Fleet Foxes and many other styles in there. The first harmonies remind you of those old time trios like the Andrews Sisters or the Beverley Sisters. It's hard to pick out a favourite track as I'm already such a big fan of Mexico and Facing West already, but Snow is a wonderfully evocative, wintry tune for a dull November day.

I can't rate this album high enough, just go and buy it now.
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on 1 January 2013
The harmonies these girls produce is up to anything that emanates from the bible-belt region of USA. I just hope they get the backing to have their skills fully be developed and have them justifiably appreciated.

Where their better tracks are up to a fine standard (Wisely & slow); they could have included their own versions of other artist’s tracks that have influenced their style. Nora Jones did this on the first two albums and now produces work that is truly 5 Star - I hope the Staves will persevere and do this as well.
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on 20 February 2013
'Winter Trees' is initially the stand out, but the more you listen the stronger the other songs become - none moreso than the complex and ambitious closing track 'Eagle Song' - a triumph of harmony, melody and structure and a fitting way to cap a tremendous debut disc.
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on 12 August 2013
After hearing this band on Jools Holland sing A Capella, and watching some acoustic performances and being swept away by their blood harmony, I was quite disappointed when my excitement was pretty dashed by this album. Some of the unnecessary instrumentation seems to cloud the hearty melodious vocals at the heart of this music. I feel they're standing in the way of their own potential and stopping themselves from becoming something really, really special.
Will keep an ear out for their future work to see if it improves.
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on 24 August 2013
Comparisons to Sandy Denny and CSNY in other reviews are over the top for what I felt was quite a mundane album. The vocals are pleasant but there is nothing that stands out and grabs you. The instrumentation is rather boring and insipid like a lot of the Mumford and Sons generation with the exception of Laura Marling. I think the Wailin Jennys are ahead in this genre of harmony singing. I think this should be re-titled as Dead & Bored& Grown.
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on 13 November 2012
beautiful debut album, with relaxing music and beautiful vocals,
great if your wanting something to listen to when you relax after a stressful day,
i would greatly recommend this group to anyone who wants to listen to some good female vocals,

can't wait to hear more from this group.
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