With form/a, Half Waif deliver an EP that brings up as many questions as answers, and paints a turbulent narrative of searching for place and purpose.
It makes sense that form/a, the newest Half Waif release off Cascine, is a water sign. Half Waif’s entire discography is saturated with wet, lush currents and form/a is no exception. This entire EP feels as if it was crafted beneath the surface of a storm. Safety warning: I am not advocating that you go swimming during a monsoon…but if you’ve ever been underwater during a storm, you know the muffled sound of rain hitting water from above. You know how the water chills, the sound of waves as they begin to crash, and you know the odd sense of being protected from all that tumult–until the pressure builds in your lungs and you need to brave the surface. In that moment, you feel like an extension of the ocean as it is both utterly at peace and at war with itself. form/a is the calm and the storm. There are no answers here, just moments of reprieve and clarity in the chaos.
Released on February 24th, this record is a Pisces. I know that we Pisces have a reputation for being at least mildly erratic, frequent visitors of our past, and more than a little bit…dramatic. That read isn’t exactly wrong– it’s not that we aren’t well intending, we’re empaths at heart and center ourselves around others, but sometimes this means we don’t know what we want. We don’t know what’s going to make us happy from one moment to the next. As opening track ‘Severed Logic’ puts it, “my mood is a pendulum: I don’t think you can handle it.” But this doesn’t mean that we aren’t in things for the long haul – I’d cite “Night Heat” as a perfect example but I’d rather you just listen to the track. Hearing the song performed in January was the first twist of the knife – every listen since has made me want to rip my heart out and throw it across the room, only to sob over it and return it to its rightful place. Again, I warned you of our sign’s penchant for melodrama.
form/a takes place in the present while looking at the past for guidance. Lyrically, there are even questions raised of the value of that, “Frost Burn” references an internal map, questioning, “would it lead me out or would it lead me back?” Nevertheless, Nandi Rose Plunkett & co. revisit what has made them great in the past but are looking to the future, especially in terms of production. This was Nandi’s first time at the helm and it shows – this isn’t necessarily a drawback, just a departure from the extensive polish that accompanied 2016’s Probable Depths. form/a is built within a sonic landscape that straddles the bridge of organic and inorganic, a balancing act of nuanced musical shapes taking on rhizomatic form, and functions as a synthetic heartbeat to a record exploring the human desire for meaning without knowing.
Listen to form/a here:
Catch Half Waif on tour:
3/11 – Savannah Stopover – Savannah, GA
3/12 – The Wilbury – Tallahassee, FL
3/13-17 – SXSW
3/19 – Not So Fun WKND @ Club Dada – Dallas, TX
3/22 – Mahall’s – Lakewood, OH
3/23 – Mac’s – Lansing, MI
3/24 – Beat Kitchen – Chicago, IL
3/25 – Double Happiness – Columbus, OH
3/26 – The Smiling Moose – Pittsburgh, PA
3/27 – The Smiling Buddha – Toronto, ON
3/28 – Vitrola – Montreal, QC
3/29 – Arts Riot – Burlington, VT
3/31 – Joe Squared – Baltimore, MDl
4/1 – Strange Matter – Richmond, VA
4/2 – King’s – Raleigh, NC
4/3 – DC9 – Washington DC
4/5 – Middle East Upstairs – Boston, MA (tickets)
4/6 – The Silent Barn – New York, NY
4/7 – Everybody Hits – Philadelphia, PA