The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

REVIEW: Half Waif – ‘Mythopoetics’ (Anti-)


In a sentence:

Nandi Rose Plunkett sounds more strident and confident on her latest Half Waif album ‘Mythopoetics’.

Nandi Rose Plunkett’s previous albums as Half Waif have frequently been noteworthy for their high degrees of reflection, introspection and self-evaluation. Given the enforced isolation of lockdown, you’d perhaps have expected this to have been a positive boon for Plunkett’s art form. Mythopoetics, therefore, wrongfoots the listener, with the artist looking outwards with a more assured sense of identity and her place in the world. Plunkett doesn’t so much play against type as access a new part of her artistry, one exuding greater confidence and exertion, while at the same time burnishing her established low-key electropop style.

Coming barely a year after 2020’s The Caretaker, Mythopoetics came about from sessions designed to reimagine and finesse unfinished old material, but which instead threw up an album-length batch of brand new songs. The issues and uncertainties that plagued The Caretaker and 2018’s understated Lavender are now treated with a sense of maturity and acceptance. You can hear that subtle shift in the serene, rippling R&B of ‘Swimmer’, setting emotional angst to a spartan, pristine production with gorgeous subwoofer-tickling beats.

There are occasions where Nandi Rose Plunkett’s emotional delivery isn’t quite matched with an appropriate musical accompaniment. The back-to-back ‘The Apartment’, which feels overpowered by Plunkett’s performance, and ‘Sourdough’ which threatens to be a big profound ballad but never detonates or climaxes, stand out particularly in this regard. But those moments are easily outnumbered by examples of poise and grace. The plucked strings of ‘Sodium & Cigarettes’, the sharp sense of loss accompanying ‘Fortress’ and the dynamic ‘Party’s Over’ all demonstrate a new, more strident version of Half Waif. There’s nothing particularly original about the approach she’s taken on Mythopoetics, but it’s almost universally done extremely well. (7/10) (Ed Biggs)

Listen to Mythopoetics by Half Waif here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!

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