words by tom johnson
photograph by tonje thilesen
“Lavender is so named for my grandmother Asha – a nod to the lavender she would pluck from her garden and boil in a pot on the stove,” Nandi Plunkett says of her new record.”The first time I noticed her doing this, it struck me as a kind of magic: the small black cauldron bubbling with a piece of the earth. She did it to make the house smell good. I believe it was also a ritual of purification, clearing out any shadows that may have tried to creep into the old English home she’d lived in, alone, for fifty years.”
And so begins a new Half Waif chapter; ‘Lavender‘ being the group’s brand new album, released later this Spring via the Cascine label. A decidedly personal affair, but with the same sense of expansive, exploratory musicianship that underpins all of their work, the new album is preceded by brand new track ‘Keep It Out’ which is unveiled today alongside a stunning new video, directed by Celina Carney, which aims to highlights the two states of a relationship: together and alone.
Suitably hypnotic, the video is a striking counterpart to the song itself, which offers an impassioned four-minutes, Plunkett’s most alluring voice seeming to travel great distances as it soars tenderly, high above the electronic soundscape bubbling away in the background.
“When I wrote and recorded Lavender, my grandmother was alive, and though she wasn’t ill at the time of her sudden death in September, it was obvious her life – after 95 years – was drawing to a close,” Nandi goes on to explain. “As a result, themes of ageing and collapse are all over this album. It is an elegy to time, the pilgrimages we take, and the ultimate slow plod towards our end.”
Lavender is released on April 27th; introduce yourself to ‘Keep It Out’ below right now.