The Waifs

Shelter Me

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    8
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Using a patchwork musical quilt of folk and acoustic pop arrangements, the Waifs sound almost complete in a large number of songs. Although Josh Cunningham produces a majority of the songwriting, songs such as "People Who Think They Can" and the lively "Shelter Me" evoke images of a feminized Crowded House thanks to the Simpson sisters, Vikki and Donna. Structured in a cozy, country-like frame of harmonies and acoustic guitars, most of the album works all too well. A few songs, including the soulful "Time to Part," seem a bit askew from the others, but aren't annoying to the senses. An album's best is sometimes saved for the last, and this is no exception, as the introspective "Spotlight" demonstrates the strengths of this trio perfectly. "Attention" and a hidden track, a live jazz version of "Billy Jones," are also high points. The pop effort seems to work slightly better than the soul or jazz efforts, but it's a case of splitting very fine hairs for a promising act from down under.

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