The Waifs

Sink or Swim

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With little time to spare, the third time for this West Australian trio is the charmer. Maximizing the talents of each crafty songwriter, the Simpson sisters lead close to all of the songs within, including the aptly worded and grin-inducing "The Haircut," a song about personal interior and exterior imperfections. Abstaining from traditional folk for a more rural, quasi-country sound, the band rarely misses the mark, although "Love Serenade" is just satisfactory. There are a few brief, shining pop moments, but equally lovable are the slow country hues of "Service Fee." The greatest asset is how songs such as "A Brief History..." and "The Waitress" work due to the mini-biographies within each, complete with banjo and mandolin. The sweet harmonies between Vikki Simpson and Donna Simpson on "Taken" is another highlight. If there is one knock that could be used against them, it's the simple fact there isn't more here than could be. If the title is related to their career path, "swim" is the operative word.

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