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If anything, The Waifs definitely deserve to win the prize for longevity. What started as a sister act in the pubs of Albany, WA before evolving into a band in 1992 is still kicking on more than two decades later.
With its members peppered around the world, from Utah to California as well as back in WA, seventh album Beautiful You is the one The Waifs weren’t sure was ever going to come to fruition; but it’s a good thing it did. The record is as true to the group as ever, but continued life experiences from members whose careers span their entire adult lives gives the tracks the grounding they really need.
It’s still as ethereal, light and dreamy as everything else the trio (with expert auxiliary members) have done over the past 20 years, but it just feels like there’s more weight to it – an added earnestness behind the words, if you will.
As always with the Waifs, what immediately stands out as a common theme is those beautiful harmonies. Whether between sisters Donna Simpson and Vikki Thorn or with Josh Cunningham’s Americana-esque drawl, the soaring harmonies give this pretty folk a whole extra dimension.
The album, too, grows as it progresses. It slowly becomes more electric and less restrained, like they’re losing the inhibitions that may have crept in during their four years apart and without making a record.
Look, it’s nothing groundbreaking nor genre-defining; the running theme of ‘home’ and an attachment to wherever that may be is not unmarked territory. But it doesn’t really matter, The Waifs have been there, done the whole groundbreaking thing, and Beautiful You is a genuinely well-flowing and enjoyable album that rides on what The Waifs have spent two decades building.
Listen: The Waifs – 6000 Miles