The Staves: Good Woman (Nonesuch) - review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Thursday, March 4th, 2021  

The Staves

Good Woman


Feb 08, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

For the better part of the last decade, The Staves have been one of folk’s preeminent acts. From their trio of modestly excellent studio efforts to their stint touring with Bon Iver, the three sisters that make up the group have carved out a respectable niche within the booming genre. For the first time in six years, a new album bearing their name has been unveiled. 

At its core, Good Woman is evidence that the Staveley-Taylors are evolving organically in that it takes the elements that made them so magical before—angelic vocal harmonies and expertly crafted folk arrangements—and takes them to newly expansive heights, both instrumentally and emotionally. It’s sincere, welcoming, and undoubtedly polished.

On “Nothing’s Gonna Happen,” the band is quintessentially themselves, while the rolling rhythms of “Best Friend” and the rootsy grooves of the title track evoke shades of a distinctively more ambitious style. Most of the 12 songs are reserved but powerful, with hardly a superfluous production decision to be found. Lyrically, everything is gentle, intimate, and deeply personal, making the whispered words perfectly congruent to their associated instrumental arrangements. 

Perhaps the record’s most impressive tracks are “Failure” and “Satisfied,” both of which feature soaring choruses alongside sublime and balanced contours. It’s these types of soundscapes which, when taken a step further, make voices stand out and accentuate subtle songwriting brilliance. Though the band dealt with incredible heartbreak since the release of 2015’s If I Was—their mother, who encouraged the sisters to pursue a career in music, passed away in mid-2018—their hiatus did not hamper their ability to write incredible songs. 

All in all, The Staves have once again succeeded in enchanting listeners with a unique ethereal euphoria that remains unmatched. Good Woman may be a little different than the band’s previous works, but it reinforces what makes them so special in a marvelous way. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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