As I’m writing this, it’s a few days after International Women’s Day. The event is something I feel incredibly passionate about, and yet, slightly overwhelmed by. While social media has brought a light on so many issues surrounding the event worth talking about, it can be hard to find a clear head in the over-abundant nature of online discussion. Luckily for me, I’ve recently come across an album that encapsulates the intricacies of femininity so intimately that it feels like a corner of clarity amongst the noise.

Enter Good Woman, the latest folk offering from Watford three-piece The Staves.

Staples of the folk-pop world, each of the group’s releases have matured alongside them with this latest album being no exception. Inspired by major changes in their lives, the album took over two years to make, as the outfit experimented with sound, textures and structure, while honestly detailing their feelings through their writing.

What emerges is a release that contains shocking depth both musically and lyrically. The album had me from the opening, as the group confidently explored the subtler aspects of femininity through the title track Good Woman. Walking the line between adhering to conventional femineity and pushing against it, the track’s constant is aided by soothing vocal samples that all build up to a crashing, captivating climax. A personal favourite, Devotion, deals with the powerless that can come with relationships – a topic that I have so often talked about with friends and family. It’s mesmerisingly impactful in its emotional clarity and provides a catharsis that took me by surprise.

Listen To Devotion Here

However, the group are sure not to dwell in downheartedness, providing such euphoric moments of relief across the works that lift it entirely. Best Friend is a fast-paced ballad that captures the spontaneity of youth, through echoing vocals and an unmovable drumbeat. Next Year Next Time starts with minimalist backing, but soon swells in sound to create a track about being afraid to take chances. Teetering along a line of the group’s own emotions – and a relatability that we can all grasp – I find myself affected by it weeks after first listening.

Due to my unprecedented emotional response, it comes as no surprise that this has ingrained itself into my psyche. The album seems to capture the more subtle, unnoticeable aspects of womanhood that capture me entirely and yet offers a separate message that benefits everyone. In not shying away from overbearing emotions the work instead celebrates them, translating them into moments we can use to better ourselves and emerge as better people because of them.

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