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.