The Waifs are warmly welcomed back to the Australian music scene with their new album Ironbark, a nod to their core influences – friends, family, a love of music and performing, and Australia itself. Most predominant in their new 25 track album is this Australis theme, a tribute to its nature and its people, essential ingredients in the extraordinary body of work the Waifs have created in the 25 years since they formed.
The chemistry throughout the album is intensely apparent, as is the tension born of the organic, largely spontaneous production. The theme of strength and endurance is clear – a nod to the bands 25 years together. The earthy feel of the acoustic twangs, the exquisite harmonies of the sisters, and the smooth rolls of the bass lines communicate powerful musings of love and land.
‘The Shack’ is an example of a track immersed in land and sea, a meander through Cunningham’s youth. ‘Lion and Gazelle’ radiates mournful yearning and emotional turmoil, as does the wrenching ‘Done and Dusted’ although more sprightly. Thorn references her roots on ‘The Coast’ with ponders of the treacherous coastline near her family home in Albany, WA. ‘Dirty Little Bird’ returns to reflections on love, banjo infused and intrepid. This album is their biggest and strongest collection of studio recordings yet.
Reviewed by Megan McNeel