You can imagine the frustration, the idea of getting the band together for the purpose of writing an album, sitting down in a studio far from home, holding sleepy guitars, paper and pencils hovering, and hitting an unintentional pause button. This was the prelude to the Waif’s seventh studio album Beautiful You. Vikki Thorn confirms; “We probably hadn’t sat together in a room like that for 15 years.” So what happened next? Well sister, Donna Simpson stomped out of the room and vowed to write a song. The title track no less. That’s the thing with The Waifs, we love and know the personalities that inhabit their collective, they don’t just sing words they create songs that have meaning; fiery, solitary, contemplative songs of truths.
Penned by Vikki, 6000 Miles seems at first a reminiscent, fragile ode to her family and West Australian land; “the golden shores and that salty sweet air,” complete with the echoing pangs of a slide guitar. Yet as the song develops we find this is really the theme song for The Waif protagonists; Vikki singing what they truly love to do, “I’ve never really had much of a way with words, but God knows I love to sing.” The instrumentals are as grateful as the lyrics; is it a ukulele or mandolin tremolo – acoustic notes played so clear and soft.
Josh Cunningham delivers the ballad written by the roadside, Dark Highway and anthemic Cracks of Dawn, where you can hear distinct Zac Brown Band alt country tones, bluesy pedal steel guitar and a punchy harmonica. Donna may have created the title song however she has written the song of her life with the worn desperate words for When a Man Gets Down accompanied by the sympathetic sweet harmonies and wailing harmonica of Vikki.
Beautiful You was released 14 August via Jarrah Records and The Waifs play Miami Marketta on 22 October.