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The Staves – Blood I Bled EP

"The Blood I Bled EP"

Release date: 27 October 2014
The Staves The Blood I Bled EP
30 October 2014, 15:30 Written by Rachel Bolland
The Staves definitely have an advantage over most of their contemporaries from the off – and it’s not something that can be learnt or developed over time; it was most definitely something they were born with.

By virtue of being sisters, the trio have the ability to create the most amazing, beautiful, inviting, hopeful and engaging harmonies, far beyond the ability of the majority of bands who came together less organically, with years of singing together filtering through to their recorded work. It is, without a doubt, their main selling point and what made their debut album Dead & Born & Grown such a lovely record, the intricacies in their vocals revealing new elements with each listen. For the most part, in fact, their instrumental accompaniments seem almost arbitrary, with an acoustic guitar being enough on several songs.

For new EP The Blood I Bled, the band haven’t really made a massive leap. The harmonies are still out in force, but it almost feels as though this needs something more. “Open” has the classic, finger-picked guitar, immediately joined by those stunning vocals, and later, the harmonies, to create something that sounds so distinctly Staves-esque. The instrumentation grows throughout the song, incorporating delicate piano and some genuinely interesting percussion to create something altogether darker than their previous material, marking, perhaps, the biggest departure and maturity found on the EP.

The title track and closer “America” both allow the sisters to do what they do best. “Blood I Bled” builds to a chorus supported by huge drums, creating a much bigger sound than you’d generally associate with the band, while “America” just utilises those harmonies to the fullest possible effect, with gorgeous strings backing them up.

It’s an undeniably beautiful EP, but I can’t imagine that sitting through another album of the same thing wouldn’t wear a little thin. The Blood I Bled will undoubtedly delight a huge number of existing Staves fans as it is still, ultimately, a wonderful showcase of their incredibly talent, but I can’t imagine it’s going to win anyone who wasn’t charmed by Dead & Born & Grown over either.

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