Half Waif: The Caretaker (ANTI-) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, February 21st, 2024  

The Caretaker


Apr 08, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Nandi Rose’s latest album as Half Waif is being released a few days after spring has sprung, but it concerns itself mainly with the summer months. Summer months that at the moment seem eons away. But in the crush of days in between, The Caretaker at a minimum helps Rose to find solace with herself. Rose’s last album, Lavender, was primarily a delicate look back on growing up and those that shepherded her through. The Caretaker shows Rose taking up her own mantle to forge forward and support those around her.

Sonically, The Caretaker is more a piece of Rose’s earlier explorations of angular synths, where even songs like album highlight “Blinking Light” that start as a piano ballad evolve to skittery synths scrambling to find their footing on a statelier base. Though the album does have its more reflective moments like on the inward looking “Generation,” the sounds here tend towards the maximized end of the spectrum. Even the lone instrumental track, “Lapsing,” with its Doppler effect synths, is fully involved.

Each song feels carefully crafted even if it may take several listens through to crack the shells of some. But other tracks are easier to enjoy the first time through. The thrum and click of “Ordinary Talk” compels from the outset with layered vocals giving way to a stripped down initial chorus. Of the denser tracks, ones like “Halogen 2” whir and shimmer while building to tenser passages that highlight Rose’s resolve to move forward: “I do what I must…I’m doing my best.”

Like the lush and overgrown summer backyard that Rose awaits, The Caretaker’s underbrush can get thick and thorny but lifts up fragrant rewards as well. As with all worthwhile works of art, the album doesn’t make for a passive listen. If you give The Caretaker the attention it deserves it will slowly yield itself over to your appreciation. It’s clear that Rose gave great thought and attention to every detail of the album as it came together. The care with which the album concerns itself translates circularly between the artist and the art. Though we may all have our favorite season, at the moment it’s hard to argue with the protagonist of the closing track “Window Place” who longs for “the arms of summer.” The reach that The Caretaker requires of the listener to get there is well worth it. (www.half-waif.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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