New Waifs Album – Temptation
I’m a publicist and often post press releases on No Depression. I always intend to write more personal blogs (that have nothing to do with ‘clients’) on here, but only have done that a handful of times…time constraints mostly, and you know — time contraints are a gateway to loss of creativity. And I don’t mean to imply that I don’t enjoy posting things for my clients – because I’m in the lucky to love the music and artists I work with…
That all being said, here’s the press release on the fabulous new Waifs album – Temptation. The album was released in US on April 26, and it got missed by many. I’d be happy to send you a review copy. It’s a gorgeous album.
The Waifs Release Temptation April 26 on Compass Records
Sixth Album Presents Stripped-Down Rootsy Songs Of Spiritual Journey
“Where do we take it from here?” sings Vikki Thorn on “Day Dreamer,” one of the most uplifting moments on The Waifs’ sixth album, Temptation, in stores April 26th from Compass Records. It’s a question the much-loved band has asked itself several times in the almost 20 years since Thorn, her sister Donna Simpson and guitarist Josh Cunningham began. And the new album sees them stripping back to the bare essentials on songs that explore the spirituality of their ever-evolving journey.
It’s trip that began in 1992, with the trio playing gigs anywhere in Australia they could – and taking it all the way to multiple awards, platinum albums, worldwide touring, and notice from Bob Dylan, who famously invited them on his own tour in 2003.
Temptation was recorded last November at Underwood Studios, a ramshackle old house-turned-studio in Simpson’s adopted home city of St Paul, Minneapolis. There’s an almost tangible chemistry at work; an irresistible groove. As Thorn says, it sounds like a band that has been playing together for a long time. “That’s how it felt in there,” she says. All five musicians (including drummer David Ross Macdonald and bassist Ben Franz) lived together for two weeks above the basement studio, cooking, reminiscing and finessing each of the songs that had been brought to the table. “You just went downstairs when it was your turn to do a take,” says Cunningham. “It was a great atmosphere and I think you can hear that on the record.”
What contributed to the atmosphere was that for the participants it was a reunion as much as it was work. Josh, Donna and Vikki have all moved on in their personal lives since those formative years, whether through relationships, having children or relocating to different parts of the world, yet The Waifs’ journey continues. That ever-evolving trip, and the bond that has developed between them, is very much central to the emotion of the 11 songs on Temptation.
The title track, which has been on the band’s live set list for a few years, evokes that mindfulness. It’s a rousing, gospel-tinged ballad, one of three Cunningham contributions to the album, all inspired by recent personal faith experiences. I can only write about things that are close to my heart, that are real to me,” says Cunningham. “To find faith … that’s a pretty powerful experience for a person to go through.”
Then there’s “Buffalo”, a beautifully stark and melancholy song by Thorn that allows the strength and subtlety of her voice to shine through. In contrast, embracing those familiar Waifs characteristics is the first single, “Falling,” an effervescent few minutes of folk-pop that highlights the sultry voice and songwriting skills of Simpson, who wrote four songs for the album, including the infectious opening track, the raw, shuffling blues “I Learn the Hard Way.”
On “Some Days,” Thorn lets her melancholy run riot on a strutting, folky lament with a twist. “I got a man and a family that loves me/Sometimes I have to ask myself what the hell it’s all for”. In that same vein, the delicately funky “Beautiful Night” is about finding time to reflect with the ones you love.
That, it could be said, is what Temptation is all about – a band that has been on an amazing journey, through good times and bad, that has come together for the love of music and each other. “We’re a family and we love playing music with each other and over the years I think we’ve contributed something … made a difference,” says Cunningham. “We’ve made simple songs that resonate with everyday people. That’s all we can do. There’s value in keeping that going.”