Album: The Waifs, SunDirtWater (Jarrah)

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The Independent Culture

Already a triple-platinum act in their homeland, Australian trio The Waifs have begun to make transatlantic waves through the patronage of Bob Dylan – who invited them to tour as his support act – and ear-catching sets at events like the Cambridge Folk Festival.

Fronted by sisters Vikki and Donna Simpson, with Joshua Cunningham's lead guitar adding bite to their rootsy arrangements, The Waifs are most engaging on the laidback country-funk groove of "Pony", where bar-room piano furnishes solidity behind the girls' rustic harmonies; but they're equally adept at the trad-style family tragedy of "Vermillion", with pa in penury, and ma "dying with the flowers in the fall". A general air of restlessness stalks the songs, measured out in spiky lines like "I think I like this view/Without you", but only "Love Let Me Down" blots their copybook by being overwrought and overlong.

Pick of the Album: 'Pony', 'Sweetest Dream'