by Kris Handel (@khandel84)
Lavender is the second full length from Nandi Rose Plunkett's Half Waif project, and once again she is accompanied by Aden Carlos and Zach Levine. Plunkett's past work has always had a bit of an air of mystery surrounding it and has at times seemed a little too reserved in fully showing the musical and lyrical depths, on Lavender that distance is lessened. There's a lot of themes on this record but movement is definitely front and center; be it movement from life to death, or just the little changes that occur moment to moment and doing your best to take it all in and adjust.
"Lavender Burning" opens the record and is a tribute of sorts to Plunkett's grandmother. It sets the tone with yearning reminiscences, but also acknowledges the beauty that can come from moments of sadness. Movement in time is particularly huge on this song, from remembering old fragrance and traveling back to those nostalgic memories to questioning what your life has amounted to, or even just the effortless sliding between ranges in the vocal performance. "Torches," the lead single off the record, is a slow burning meditation on independence, asserting individuality in a relationship, and the endless possibilities of an escape or ending. Plunkett is accompanied by very sparse keyboards and some synths that float in and out with double tracked backing vocals that plays nicely with the sense of growing distance hinted at in the lyrics.
"Lilac House" is one of the artsier moments on the record and it recalls a bit of Kate Bush's propulsiveness in an updated manner. Plunkett poignantly searches "I never was a corner cutter/I never wanted to be a bother/I've been looking on the bright side for my whole life/Now I'm looking for trouble..." looking for a new experience with a sensual undercurrent. Once again moving and constantly searching for an unknown or a way to push ones own boundaries rears it's head. "Silt" is another example of desiring to express one's own self, but keeping your own autonomy for protection as well exemplified by "If you want my love/I will guide you/I will be your anchor/If I only had a midnight to myself and/I will let you in without poison/I will leave my anger/If you'd only give me what I wanted."
Plunkett and company's emotional and musical growth is very clearly evident on this record that possesses a sense of beauty in the dark moments that most may miss. There's still a bit of a cool distance to work through but there's an underlying warmth here that is fully engrossing and quite honestly moving. There's a chance every once in a while of getting lost in the consistent dreamy sway of the music and occasionally deteriorating vocals, but those moments are brief as the mood may swing at any moment to jar your senses. There is an overwhelming sense here of always wanting to have that option to move from one place or person to another, but always finding your way back to comfort. There's a lot to explore in the world of this expansive record as well, as the world as a whole, and Plunkett clearly wants you to embrace all aspects of the journey as there is always a different corner to turn and to embrace that change.