The Courier-Mail

The Waifs’ sep­a­rate lives pay off again


Twenty three years and seven al­bums in, The Waifs work on Waifs time.

The West Aus­tralian band run their own record la­bel, so each new al­bum ar­rives when the trio are good and ready, not when some suit has­sles them.

It’s been four years since the ac­claimed Temp­ta­tion. When not on tour, the trio are now spread out all over the globe, mak­ing record­ing an al­bum a ge­o­graph­i­cal or­deal.

An at­tempt to break with their own tra­di­tion and write com­mu­nally for this al­bum spec­tac­u­larly back­fired. Once again the songs are divvied three ways through three very dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties.

But that’s the charm of The Waifs, that cre­ative push and pull.

That chem­istry pushes them out of their re­spec­tive com­fort zones.

The brit­tle but beau­ti­ful ti­tle track (with a haunting Neil Finn feel) is Donna Simp­son’s help­ing hand to some­one bat­tling ad­dic­tion — “If looks could kill you would have killed me a thou­sand times over.” No stranger to the dark side, Simp­son’s When a Man Gets Down is an emo­tional re­la­tion­ship post-mortem.

Vikki Thorn’s Fe­bru­ary is a storm­ing blues-rocker ready to fire crowds up, and Josh Cun­ning­ham’s 6000 Miles is a coun­try-tinged road trip about that awk­ward time he was stranded with a bro­ken van and no friendly passer-by. “The good in a man is only as good as the bad is bad,” he notes.

Simp­son’s Rowena and Wal­lace (about a skater boy and a good girl gone bad, not the TV icon Pat the Rat) fires up a swampy tale of mis­spent youth, stolen cash and DIY tat­toos.

Come Away’s mel­low tones show­case the beauty al­ways at the heart of what they do, while the bouncy Blindly Be­liev­ing could be a ra­dio hit for those Waifs-friendly ra­dio sta­tions that gen­uinely like good mu­sic.


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