Half Waif – The Caretaker

Nandi Rose Plunkett finds a space of her own on The Caretaker, another mesmerising record as Half Waif

Album Review by Katie Cutforth | 23 Mar 2020
  • Half Waif - The Caretaker
Album title: The Caretaker
Artist: Half Waif
Label: ANTI-
Release date: 27 Mar

Half Waif’s music is utterly transporting – vast, unconquerable soundscapes adorned with the expressive vocals and storytelling of Nandi Rose Plunkett.

2018’s Lavender – named for the flowers that bloomed in Plunkett’s grandmother’s garden – explored Plunkett’s connection to her own ancestry, as well as themes of life and death, fear and tragedy. With The Caretaker, she turns the spotlight onto herself, seeking to understand and heal herself, resulting in a record that feels both personal and universal.

‘Baby, don’t worry about me / I don’t worry about you’, Plunkett sings on Ordinary Talk, without meaning to hurt. The words are for herself – a reminder to take care, to be self-sufficient, and to accept that facing pain head on is often a vital part of the process of creating art. ‘Dreaming up a song / Crying in my coffee / Doing it all wrong’, she continues, ‘Everybody knows it’s how we fall apart’.

Plunkett has also sought some space musically with the record, having written and arranged the entire album alone before bringing in co-producer David Tolomei to polish the sound and add instrumental layering. Plunkett’s primal calls dance atop stirring chord progressions, merging and winding with synths, drum machines, woodwind and vocal harmonies to create an immersive, impenetrable sound.

To listen to Plunkett’s music is to enter her world. The Caretaker is not for the fainthearted, nor is it designed to be background music: it demands to keep your full and undivided attention.

Listen to: My Best Self, Ordinary Talk