The Staves - 'Good Woman'

8/10

It hardly feels like six years since we last heard a studio album from The Staves. While they did return with a collaborative EP alongside New York-based chamber ensemble yMusic back in 2017, this new collection marks their first full-length as a trio since their 2015 LP 'If I Was', a record that saw them grow to their highest peak yet. But after just a few listens, it clearly feels like they have spent the time well, not rushing into keeping the buzz and momentum going, but allowing it to settle in order to create something more distinctive and creative throughout.

From the start, it is clear the three-piece are looking to shake off the humble and ethereal tones of their earlier work in order to deliver something more euphoric in intention. What sets 'Good Woman' apart from their initial releases is the detail and attention that has gone into the production of the record. While the first two albums saw them as a more minimal outfit, rarely using like more than acoustic instrumentation and their own beautifully harmonised vocals, this new material sees them delve further into the world of dynamic soundscapes to create a hybrid of their former selves and something far more powerful throughout.

Although it does feel like a different gambit to their usual output, 'Good Woman' isn't so far out there it will take away from their formative sound. Instead it shows them in the next phase of their direction, growing out of their musical adolescence and maturing into something captivating and engaging from start to finish.

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