Unnecessary Clutter

Photo by Ricardo Khayatte

Armed with a ukulele, a standard hollow body and a backup band, the harmonious unity of sisterly voices that are The Staves echoed through The Biltmore Cabaret… but this time, they were not alone. The UK-based trio, once adorned with nothing more than each other on stage, is no more… or at least for this leg of the tour. Drums and bass fill each nook and cranny – and in some cases, it does the trick – but ultimately, it pop-ifies and numbs the charm and dynamic of the trio.

While songs like “Gone Tomorrow” and “The Motherlode” on their album Dead & Born & Grown are arranged with a full band in mind, the limitations that come along with hearing just the trio are magical and unique.

I was able to catch up with The Staves at last year’s Sasquatch Music Festival (2012) and they did just that: they mesmerized the audience at the Bigfoot Stage and stood out from the pack.

A mature sound emanates from the Biltmore stage as the sisters stand in a row. For the most part a serious bunch, the three sisters focus their fully unbridled attention on harmony and performance, leaving everything else behind.

Their latest EP Facing West, which was released in April of this year, highlights the intimate vocal interactions and lyrical prowess that The Staves so effortlessly exude.

With words that seem as if they were written for our local Vancouver sky, their latest song “Rain City” reaches out and pulls at the heartstrings. An intertwining melody with scattered pockets of voices – The Staves cry out,

The Rain falls down like a victory
In sheets of shining memory

Over and over
Circling around

My vote, as is hopefully quite obvious, is for The Staves to come back as a trio – maybe at The Vogue Theatre with a follow-up, low-key and unrehearsed drop-in at The China Cloud or an off-Main living room party.

Ricardo Khayatte

Ricardo Khayatte