Waifs Up All Night

The Waifs are a lighthouse in the stormy and rock-infested waters of popular music. This sparingly produced folk pop album is straight out of the global tour van with honest hymns of the road ("London Still," "Highway One," "Three Down") enacted with mostly acoustic instrumentation and loving harmonies. A firm Australian connection in many of the songs maintains the Waifs' down-under charm but songs this good have no borders. The Waifs are a universal marvel, at home without a home, fitting in anywhere. It doesn't hurt that Josh Cunningham plays the guitar like he's Chet Atkin's illegitimate son and Vikki Simpson's harmonica seems to have stumbled upon Sonny Boy Williamson's ghost. For my money Up All Night should scoop all the Australian Junos or Grammys or whatever it is they have in the outback. (Jarrah)