The Waifs


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In celebration of their 25th anniversary, Australian folk trio the Waifs offer up Ironbark, an expansive 25-track double album comprised of new material. 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.

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