The WAiFS — Ironbark (24 February 2017)
º “We recorded the album in Josh’s (Cunningham, guitar/ vocals) half~built stone house out in the middle of this amazing bellbird forest,” Donna Simpson says of her co~Waif’s home in Moruya, NSW, during a chat in a South Fremantle pub.
º “We took our own engineer, set up a studio and he would just press record. We just played live. First time we’ve ever done it like that, though we’d talked about it for years.
º “I thought that we’d done so many albums that we just hadn’t quite nailed. To me, this is our camp~fire album.”
Location: Moruya, NSW, Australia ~ Albany, Western Australia, Australia
Album release: 24 February 2017
Record Label: Jarrah Records
01 Ironbark 3:38
02 Higher Ground 4:18
03 Not the Lonely 3:47
04 I Won’t Go Down 4:50
05 Important Things 3:45
06 Lion and Gazelle 4:23
07 Done and Dusted 4:50
08 Dirty Little Bird 5:24
09 Grand Plans 4:49
10 Something’s Coming 3:52
11 Syria 6:24
12 Amazing Everything 4:01
13 The Shack 5:41
14 Long Way from Home 5:14
01 Song For Jacqueline 3:30
02 Standing Strong 3:39
03 Sugar Mama 2:15
04 Don’t You Ever Feel 3:31
05 Strangest Thing 4:42
06 Take Me To Town 4:17
07 Goodnight Lil’ Cowboy 2:43
08 The Coast 4:46
09 Shiny Apple 3:00
10 Willow Tree 3:43
11 Take It In 4:10
℗ 2017 Jarrah Records
º Joshua Cunningham — guitars, vocals, mandolin, ukulele, dobro (1992–present)
º Donna Simpson — vocals, acoustic guitar (1992–present)
º Vikki Thorn (née Simpson) — vocals, harmonica, acoustic guitar (1992–present)
Anna Rose, 13th March 2017 / Score: ****
º The Waifs’ latest release is perhaps their best yet.
º In an album written as a ‘thank you’ to fans, Ironbark celebrates the band’s 25~year career with a collection of songs that aim to make you feel more Zen than you ever have before. Each track on this bumper release pulses with crisp beats and vocal harmonies that harness all the beauty of a lullaby.
º The album’s title track sets a trend for the whole collection, with its delightful folk aesthetics to match those in ‘I Won’t Go Down’, a moving song that generates peaceful imagery and stirs up something deep inside you.
º Here is a band that time and time again has proven its musical ideas are in abundance, continually creating new material without growing stale. Ironbark covers every subject from lost love to world tragedy, and the pen remains ever~sharp.
º With each quivering bend of the harmonica, every harmonised vocal line, Ironbark is an album of reflection and development.
º As a reflection on The Waifs’ stellar career and evidence of their ongoing development, there’s never been a more perfect way for a band to commemorate a milestone. º http://www.thebrag.com/
Allmusic review Timothy Monger; Score: ***½
º In celebration of their 25th anniversary, Australian folk trio the Waifs offer up Ironbark, an expansive 25-track double album comprised of new material.
º Arriving a year~and~a~half after their seventh album, 2015’s Beautiful You, Ironbark reflects on the group’s quarter~decade of successes, struggles, strife, and togetherness as sisters Donna Simpson and Vikki Thorn, along with co~bandleader Joshua Cunningham, collaborate and harmonize in the easy manner that has earned them such a large following over the years. Captured to tape by engineer James Newhouse, this set benefits from the spontaneity of having been recorded almost entirely in Cunningham’s kitchen near Moruya, New South Wales. Having spent much of the past decade scattered around the globe — Simpson and Thorn both live in the U.S. with Cunningham remaining in Australia — the band saw this anniversary record as a chance to reconnect in familiar, laid~back surroundings and simply sing, strum, and write in a room together. A number of bright highlights came out of these sessions, like the hooky, Fleetwood Mac~esque “Not the Lonely” and the strident “Don’t You Ever Feel,” both of which display the sisters’ natural chemistry. Cunningham’s title track is a warm, uplifting indie folk paean to the trio’s durability which features all three singers trading vocals back and forth. As inviting as its downhome vibe is, there is a good deal of filler on Ironbark that would have been better served as a pared~down single~disc offering. Still, as a celebration of the Waifs’ key ingredients, it does the trick.
Bob Gordon, Wednesday, 22 February 2017 12:01AM
º The Waifs (1996)
º Shelter Me (1998)
º Sink or Swim (2000)
º Up All Night (2003)
º Sun Dirt Water (2007)
º Temptation (2011)
º Beautiful You (2015)
º Ironbark (2017)