The Waifs are probably one of the most decorated folk/roots rock bands that you’ve never heard of. Coming out of west Australia, the band is made of sisters Vikki Thorn (harmonica, guitar, vocals) and Donna Simpson, and they are joined by Josh Cunningham (guitar, vocals). In 2003, they won Best Blues and Roots Album for Up All Night at the ARIA awards, an award they were also nominated for in 2005, for their live album, A Brief History. Their new release, Sun, Dirt, Water, debuted at #2 on the ARIA Album Chart this month.
Yes, after a three…was it three?…year hiatus to do trivial shit, like raise kids and crap, the band has managed to gathered themselves up and make another amazing album.
I first became aware of The Waifs a few years ago when they were coming to play a local musical festival here in town called Tropical Heatwave. Leading up to it, the radio station that puts the festival on put all the performing artists into heavy rotation, so I got a good dose of their Up All Night album. However, the radio station was unable to quench my thirst, and within days I was at the record store buying the album.
I was curious about how the band would interact after a few years off, but within the first 30 seconds of the opening track “Pony”, I knew that they didn’t. It probably affected the hell out of the recording process, but the end product is a Waifs record through and through. I can’t say it’s better than Up All Night, because I’m not sure that’s possible, but it doesn’t suffer much, if any, of a drop off from it. I think the title track “sundirtwater”, the following track “Vermillion” and “Eternity” tell you everything you need to know about this band. If you’re feeling those songs, then you’ll be diggin’ this band….if you ain’t feeling those tracks, you’re better off passing on these guys and gals.
From Up All Night:
From Sun, Dirt, Water