Alt-Pop alternative piano piano pop review singer songwriter

Half Waif – Portraits Review

Piano 'as live' renditions from her latest albums.

What does Half Waif sound like?

Usually, a complex mesh of organic and electronic sounds creating alt-pop quirkiness.

The review of Half Waif – Portraits

Something of a beautiful surprise is “Portraits”, a new EP from Half Waif. It takes four tracks from her albums “Mythopoetics” and “The Caretaker” and strips them down to live piano and vocal arrangements. Whilst these albums have a lot of production, this intimate ‘as live’ performance is a stunning reminder that the melody and emotion hold strong without all the glory of tech wizardry.

“Swimmer”, an immediate and catchy favourite from “Mythopoetics” translates as a powerful piece when it’s just piano and vocal. If you were worried that Half Waif might have a by-the-numbers arrangement, this piece immediately settles those fears. It is poised and powerful, as is “My Best Self”. It starts out as a gentle and tentative ballad before exploding into a huge power-ballad chorus. The chorus chords ring out and Half Waif (Nandi Rose) absolutely smashes the vocal delivery. “Fortress” ups the ante again with an impressive vocal range that lands every emotional blow – complete with “ha-ha” chuckle. Taking this track to a darker and subdued place is a genius move. It feels very Sarah Slean or Vienna Teng. Closer “Ordinary Talk” delicately rounds out the EP with a bluesy grace to it and the outro is a stunning mix of devastating vocals and chord drips.

photo of Half Waif
Half Walf

“Portraits” whets my appetite for seeing Half Waif live. This is a beautiful performance that feels intimate and powerful in equal measure. There is an emotional cadence to each track that lets the song wax and wane with the emotional tide to perfection. Anyone who loves alternative music women – whether you’ve heard her previous material or not – should get on this now. What a gem!

Recommended track: Ordinary Talk

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Half Waif - Portraits

9.5

9.5/10

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