The reverberating soundscapes of Half Waif's new album seem to echo her inner monologues. Half Waif's deeply intimate Lavender takes a close internal look on her hidden, dark tendencies in both sound and structure.
The essence of Lavender is built intrinsically into every song. There's a certain dejected emptiness in the reverberating synths throughout the album, and the progression of the album seems to tell a story on top of that. Opening track 'Lavender Burning' is a gentle start, swelling like waves as if to signify the constantly shifting notion of wanting to leave yet wanting to stay as Half Waif recalls her grandmother's ritual of picking and burning flowers. 'Torches' is more energetic with a natural sound akin to Aurora. There's a weird darkness to the brighter sound of the song, and a bit of aggression in the delivery.
The second half of the album feels starkly more alone than the first half. Gone is the curious nature of 'Solid 2 Void' and the optimistic sadness of 'In The Evening.' 'Silt' ushers in a darker change with its minimal start, Half Waif bringing the song to a start by addressing it "to everyone who loves me, bugs me, leaves me." The blue piano intro of 'Back In Brooklyn' implies that she made a decision after the recollection of 'Lavender Burning,' but hasn't found clarity even when she's returned to where she once left.
There's a back and forth in Lavender where it feels like Half Waif can't find the answers she's seeking, to the point where she really starts wearing her heart on her sleeve. The dramatic piano chords of 'Salt Candy' lead into a spacey, resonating synth slowroller where she sings with genuinely want, the first verse already questioning where she currently is in life: "I was once a thousand other things / Now I'm not / I don't understand why." She even cries, "I wanted to be carried in my mother's arms / I wanted to be buried in my mother's arms," revealing some very intimate ideas. Closing track 'Ocean Scope' leaves the album off on a haunting note, not really leaving things off openly, as if more is yet to come. Half Waif sings "I don't want to know how this ends" as she stares off into the oceanic instrumental, ominously ending the song with the all-knowing admittance: "In the grand scope of things, I know."
Half Waif's deeply intimate Lavender takes a close internal look at an internal battle between right and wrong on a personal scale. Throughout the record, Half Waif is faced with indecision, and it seems like no matter what path she takes, she doesn't seem to find the right one. There's hopelessness in the record, but also clarity, too. Despite her shortcomings, she keeps searching, and even if she doesn't know her own end, she knows one day it will all pay off.
Favorite Tracks: Back In Brooklyn, Salt Candy
Least Favorite Track: Keep It Out
Rating: 77 / 100
Stream or buy Lavender on Apple Music, and follow our 2018 Playlist on Spotify: