Half Waif Explores the Bittersweet on Latest Album 'Lavender'

Nandi Plunkett is the quintessential sad magic songstress. Half Waif’s latest album, Lavender, has truly cemented her title. Released on Cascine Records, Lavender is the third record released by Half Waif, and has rightfully earned high praise.

Half Waif is Nandi Plunkett, Adan Carlo and Zack Levine. The trio has a longstanding history though different projects, but despite the trios past, Lavender emerges as a current collection of bittersweet vignettes about Plunkett’s personal past and anxieties about the future.

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Speaking about the album with her record label, Nandi explained that Lavender is “an elegy to time, the pilgrimages we take, and the ultimate slow plod towards our end. It is an examination of the way we fracture, inside ourselves and inside our relationships – the fissures that creep along the structures we build, the tendency towards disintegration. "

The first track on the record, “Lavender Burning”, sets the tone for the rest of the album with a billowy synth line and lyrics of conflicting emotions and desires, this time specifically the classic pining for the excitement and hustle of New York City. “Lavender Burning” knits us a collage of emotions and memories, creating a neatly layered vignette of feeling caught between the cozy comforts of home and the longing for something new and exciting. Textures of electronic and fuzzy chaos help to convey the internalization of so much confusion and uncertainty.

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Like most songs on the record, “Keep It Out” is a minimalistic electronic track, with a bubbling beat that immediately draws you in. “Keep It Out” is a standout song on the album for me because of the delicate and completely hypnotizing soundscape it creates, but also for the poignant lyrics about pushing someone you love away to keep them from seeing your darker sides. “Keep it out, keep it in / I'll keep you out, so you never see me unraveling”.

Plunkett’s voice feels light and airy, suspended at certain points, supported by twinkly soft and sweet sounds. The album swirls and billows into a soundscape unlike any other, drawing comparisons to artists like Joni Mitchell and Imogen Heap, especially on the deliciously layered track “Salt Candy”. 

Lavender is extremely multifaceted and much more than it’s minimalistic and calculated synth tracks. Topics of identity, love, and politics are all explored in Plunkett’s gorgeous and heart wrenching lyricism bathed in the synth-pop crafted by the trio. At the heart of this record is the paradox of longing to be wanted, but at the same time wanting space so badly that you can’t breathe. Plunkett pines over intimacy not with others, but with herself and her own mind. 

-Isobel Mohyeddin

Delaney Motter