Half Waif – Lavender (Album Review)

As Nandi Rose Plunkett looks back on past relationships, it almost seems intrusive to enjoy the tracks that come from it. Celtic and Indian heritage come together with buzzing synth in Half Waif‘s Lavender, creating something that is wonderfully distinctive to Plunkett. It is a touching look at her healing process through the loss of her Grandmother Asha, the thoughts that run through her mind over time. Her memories, her escape, her everything.

There is not a single bit of this album that isn’t personal. Poignant lyrics, whether sung softly or blasted with the strength that she finds in herself add to the classical sound gracefully blended with electro-pop tones to create something unassumingly complex.

‘Lavender Burning’ sets the tone from the get go; a look back on the past with a sense of longing and heartbreak, with “is this all there is” haunting the mind. Twinkles of chimes in the background aid to the feeling of memory but also a glimmer of hope for acceptance. These chimes return throughout the album, building a sense of familiarity along the way.

Deeper tones come with ‘Keep It Out’, a track which seems to be about retreating into ourselves, yet is a key opening point of the album as it soars above the rest. It essentially portrays the upheaval of bottling emotions, and the power of releasing them.

‘Back In Brooklyn’ is simple but entirely effective, stripped back to the piano with hints of synth. Even the inclusion of a subway horn is organic down to the nature of how it came about; Plunkett listening to demos on the subway as the horn came in at just the right time in the just the same key. It’s a story with a touch of magic, a little bit that adds an extra bit of imagery in the connection between her and the music.

Lavender goes through waves of emotion both in tone and vocal spectrum. It represents a true state of healing, it’s not always a one way journey. Fragility is overcome by strength over time, but is also ready to shatter at any point. One minute it sounds confident in moving forward, the next feelings are resurfacing through old belongings or long overdue trips to familiar places. Yet through all the highs and lows, there is an ever present sense of growth and healing over time.

Lavender portrays pain and sorrow in a delicate manner, all while persevering with power and strength in oneself. It’s a heart wrenching journey through grief, full of sorrow but all the while endearing. An entirely personal affair that provides insight into the life and thoughts of Plunkett, in a form for anyone to find peace in.

RATING: ****

Lavender is out now on Cascine.