Waifs Sink or Swim

Australians aren't renowned for their indie folk pop trios, so here's one to take notice of. Fronted by two sisters (Donna and Vikki Simpson) and guitarist Josh Cunningham, the Waifs' third CD is a collection of clever and literate songs, sung in sweet two-part harmonies. Whether immortalising the Aussie countryside ("A Brief History..."), singleness and sexuality ("The Haircut") or life in Sydney ("The Waitress"), their songwriting craft is a mix of honesty and whimsy. Imagine an early, more political version of Barenaked Ladies fronted by the Indigo Girls. A few songs flounder mid-record, but the closers "When I Die" and the title track "Sink or Swim" are, like most of the album, irresistibly catchy and smart. (Independent)