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114
4.4 out of 5 stars
Dead & Born & Grown [Digipack]
Format: Audio CDChange
Price:£17.19+£1.26shipping
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
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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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
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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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 November 2012
The Staves have appeared on `Later... With Jools Holland', are supporting Bon Iver at Wembley, Manchester and Glasgow all before heading off on their own UK headline tour. This hectic schedule shows the high demand for The Staves and this is before their debut album has even been released! 2012 has seen the rise of female folk groups, as Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit who have found their way into the spotlight as well as The Staves. Their similarities are obvious as their pure voices and ethereal harmonies are very alike. This being said, The Staves create pretty folk tunes rather than First Aid Kit's style of powerful folk ballads.

Title track `Dead & Born & Grown' sets the tone for the album with stunning vocals and a simple acoustic guitar line. Eventually the harmonies stagger in and what beautiful harmonies they are. As well as complex harmonies and intricate acoustic accompaniments, The Staves also have a knack for writing memorable tracks. `Facing West' is a charming little ukulele number which features pure vocals and a charming whistling tune which gives the track character. `The Motherlode', `Winter Trees' and `Wisely & Slow' all stand out from Dead & Born & Grown as their hooks are particularly strong and their harmonies very impressive. On the other hand, `Pay Us No Mind', `Snow' and `Gone Tomorrow' feel weak compared to the energy of the rest of the album.

`In The Long Run' has a sweet acoustic guitar that accompanies Emily, Jessica and Camilla Stavey-Taylor's even sweeter vocals. The innovative vocal melody in the chorus really sets this track above the rest, making it a favourite along with `Mexico'. `Mexico' originally came from Mexico EP (2011) and is The Staves' most commercially friendly track, one that's sure to stay in your head for a very long time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2013
Every song is spectacularly crafted. Some of the richest and most incredible harmonizing I've ever heard. These sisters are incredible and their sound is ideal for a vinyl record.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 12 February 2013
I have really enjoyed this and have lent it to a few friends to listen to and spread the word
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on 11 January 2014
I hadn't heard of these girls but whilst researching bands to see at Glastonbury 2013 a friend and respected "pointer out of new bands that I might like" suggested them. I was sceptical at first because this isn't the type of music I usually go for. I'm much more of an "indie-rock with a touch of punk" bloke but my music collection is actually quite wide ranging really. Anyway, Winter Trees featured on a mix CD of "Glasto '13 suggestions" that he made for me and that lived in my car cd slot throughout May & June 2013 (thanks Martin!). Anyway, first act of Saturday had to be The Staves at 11:30 on the Other Stage. Their quality certainly didn't match their position on the bill. I was captivated by the beauty of the performance. The singing and harmonising, as has been mentioned in all the other reviews, is second to none and the whole feel fitted perfectly in the cool morning air with a gentle breeze blowing. It seemed like everyone around was sucked in and the crowd was much bigger than I've seen for a first slot act in a while. One of those hairs-on-end performances that you don't want to end.
Anyway, after that I had to get the full album but had to wait until Christmas because my wife can never think of anything to get me so any CDs I want have to go on my present list! Listening to it takes me straight back to that Saturday morning in June, I can almost feel the cool breeze blowing across the hairs standing up on the back of my neck and there is something about the recording that seems to waft over you. Its a great album and every listen it gets better. My only regret is that I've got the standard version without the live bonus tracks.
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