track of the week – Tactilian by Half Waif

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One of the best things about the internet, for music lovers anyway, is how easy it can be to stumble blindly onto a band that feels tailor made of you. Scrolling through Instagram the other day I flew past clip of Pinegrove’s bassist Adan playing in the Audiotree studio. It took a moment for my brain to register what it had seen so I scrolled back up hoping to find a new Pinegrove session but when I turned on the audio, what came through was something entirely different: Half Waif.

Nandi Rose Plunkett, also in the Pinegrove family, has an incredible voice that cuts through everything with that haunting, beautiful quality like Kate Bush or Bat For Lashes. It’s the kind of voice that stops my thoughts for a moment, everything else falls away.  I immediately downloaded the EP ‘Probable Depths’ on Spotify with the kind of excitement I had as a kid holding a new tape on the bus home from town.

‘Probable Depths’ is a stunning and varied release from start to finish but it is the finish that broke me, specifically the closing track ‘Tactilian’. Opening with a stark piano line over programmed drums, reminiscent of an audibly filled out James Blake, this track had me hooked before the incredible vocal melody even swooned in; Plunkett’s voice layered on top of itself to the point where it almost sounds like a choir. The song shifts halfway through from the hook ‘think I’m a bit sick of holding on’ ironically making me want to never let go of it, to a moody, atmospheric second half that wouldn’t be out of place on a Bon Iver record. The combination of winding down song to the repeated phrase ‘I know I’m not going to be back for a while’ calming its way to the close of the record left me short of breath, desperate for more and with an odly tangible sense of hope rising in my chest.

 

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