The Staves: The Band We Are Now

Rob Moderelli on June 14, 2024
The Staves: The Band We Are Now

photo: Harvey Pearson


In the 12 years since the release of their major-label debut, The Staves have steadily subverted expectations, honing their singular sound with each new offering. Yet, in the wake of 2021’s Good Woman, the group’s path forward became obscured by a fog of doubt. When Camilla Staveley-Taylor describes that existential confusion, it surges forth once more: “We asked ourselves, ‘What do we want to do? How do we want to do it? What kind of band are we now? What kind of band do we want to be?’”

While The Staves’ latest release, All Now, may be their fifth album, it’s also Jessica and Camilla Staveley-Taylor’s first without their eldest sister Emily, who stepped away from the project following the birth of her daughter. To pen this new chapter, the artists returned to their musical roots. “We tried to bring it back down to the way we used to write songs together when we first started,” Camilla recalls. “It was quite a long road, but it has ended up being a really fruitful experience because we haven’t been sleepwalking into the situation.”

“We’ve been around the world, we’ve learned a lot about the industry, learned more about recording and writing and everything, but the essence of just being in a room together and working out how you’re gonna sing a song doesn’t really change,” Jessica says. “It really doesn’t.”

Among minidisc memories of harmonizing in their mother’s kitchen, The Staves found the fluttering heartbeat of All Now. “When I listen to the album, I can hear elements of searching, I suppose, and lots of the songs are about questions that are coming up and trying to find what your place is in it all,” Camilla observes. “I feel that nostalgia has crept into lots of the songs as well.”

By drawing reminiscence into their vexed present, the sisters shine through dusky, uncertain feelings with the clarity of hindsight.

The duo’s decision to embrace the now also dictated the album’s eclectic production. “The thing we came back to from writing the songs up to actually recording them was just being bold and unafraid,” Jessica explains. “I think there are some bold choices on the record, and we felt that fit the mission statement of doing what felt right and going for it.” From the anthemic, synth-driven title track to the tender, crystalline folk of “Recognise,” All Now radiates sweet immediacy and faith in the process.

However, this is more than The Staves’ most moving and multifaceted record to date: It’s an intimate, living document of the Staveley-Taylors today. “We committed to making this album as the band that we are right now,” Camilla affirms. “That might not be the band that we are for the next album, and it wasn’t the band that we were before, but it’s who we are now. And that felt quite freeing.”