Review: The Staves, Start the Bus

It was Donna Air who live on television infamously asked The Coors how they met. The same question with the same answer might have been asked of The Staves by an interviewer unsure of familial bonds, as Emily, Jess and Camilla Staveley-Taylor are three sisters from Watford whose three-part harmonies are as beautiful as they are.

Watford, not widely known as a particularly musical town but one which in recent years has given the world former Spice Girl Geri Haliwell and hardcore punk band Gallows, two acts a million miles away from The Staves, whose harmonies were honed in the back seat of their parents’ car.

I have previously seen the Staves play in a small cafe under the trees of a Hertfordshire park. They were delightful then and just as delightful late on a Sunday evening in a Bristol bar, enjoyment only tempered by the sound of noisy revellers in one half of Start the Bus as music lovers in the other half remained spellbound by the folky stylings.

Headlining the first of a new monthly indie/folk night put on by promoters Communion, The Staves opened their acoustic set with Fire, replete with finger clicking from oldest sister Emily, guitar from middle sister and former Grange Hill actress Jess, and lead vocals and tambourine from youngest sister Camilla.

Lead vocal duties were then mostly split between Camilla and Jess, with the principal music-making done via those luscious harmonies and the dextrous guitar playing of Jess, who also plays in Mt. Desolation, the side project from Keane’s Tim Rice-Oxley and Jesse Quin alongside members of Noah & The Whale and Mumford & Sons.

Between a few giggles and nice line in self-deprecating humour, Facing West saw Camilla pluck a ukulele, while a particular highlight was Mexico from their Mexico EP released this week, a song for which they recently made their first video, and their last song Winter, once again showcasing those beautiful harmonies.

December 5, 2011

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