Feature: Vika & Linda – The Wait
The wait is over for Vika & Linda fans, with the beloved duo unveiling their eagerly awaited new album, their first album of original songs in 19 years. The album – aptly titled The Wait.
Opening track ‘Raise Your Hand’, written by Kasey Chambers and Brandon Dodd, is a rousing anthem of power and confidence, and is already a Vika & Linda live favourite. “As soon as we sing ‘raise your hand’, the hands go up in the crowd,” Linda smiles. “With all that’s going on at the moment, this song is relevant in so many ways. It’s anthemic – raise your hand, speak up, say what you want, don’t be ignored. It felt like Kasey had written it especially for us.”
Kasey says, “Hearing Vika & Linda’s voices together is still one of my favourite sounds ever.”
‘My Heart Is In The Wrong Place’ was written for Vika & Linda by Ben Salter. “The minute I heard the lyrics I instantly connected,” Vika says. “It’s one of those songs that everyone can relate to. Sometimes you feel like giving up, but something in you just makes you keep pushing through. I think that’s why Linda and I have had such a long career – we’ve never listened to the knockers. We just keep pushing through.”
Vika & Linda have been a treasured part of Australian music for more than 30 years. After three classic albums with The Black Sorrows, they released their platinum self-titled debut in 1994. And they have also sung on number one albums by Paul Kelly, Kasey Chambers and John Farnham, and performed gigs for the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and the King of Tonga.
The journey towards The Wait – Vika & Linda’s seventh studio album – began in March 2017, when the sisters started sourcing songs for the album.
The songwriting credits on The Wait read like a who’s who of the Australian music royalty: Ben Salter, Paul Kelly, Don Walker, Glenn Richards, Chris Cheney, Kasey Chambers & Brandon Dodd, Bernard Fanning, Matt Walker & Neil Murray, Mick Thomas & Jemma Rowlands and emerging talent Eva Seymour.
After several false starts due to COVID, The Wait was finally recorded in April 2021 – 12 songs in eight days – at Melbourne’s Woodstock Studios. Vika, who admits she normally finds the studio environment “arduous”, describes The Wait sessions as “very joyous”.
“It was actually the most fun I’ve ever had in the studio, playing with those incredible musicians (Ash Naylor on guitar, Cameron Bruce on piano, Richard Bradbeer on bass, and Lachlan O’Kane on drums). There was a real chemistry in the studio. We all connected.”
Produced by Steven Schram with Cameron Bruce, The Wait contains 12 instant classics that demonstrate Vika & Linda’s storytelling prowess and versatility while also showcasing their peerless sibling harmonies.
“Somehow – as Monty Python would say – we managed to shine out when all around was dark,” Linda says.
“During the Melbourne lockdown of 2020 the sisters went online Sunday mornings and sang gospel,” Mick Thomas writes in The Wait’s liner notes. “For a lot of us the songs weren’t familiar but the voices were. It didn’t matter where the songs came from as much as the fact they were being sung in their own homes, in their own slippers and pyjamas. Maybe that was the moment we realised there was something alternately familiar and exotic about the presence of Vika & Linda. Those voices just worked the way they needed to for all of us. And here we are with a different batch of songs – but it’s still crucial and it’s still comforting, confident, fragile and beguiling. And it’s still those voices pulling it all together.”
“That said it all,” Linda adds. “It took us three times to make this record, it kept getting delayed. And we’ve been waiting 19 years to make this record … Waiting for more songs. Waiting for the right opportunity. Waiting around for this long.”
It’s certainly been a long time coming, but Vika & Linda’s first original album since 2002 is well worth The Wait.
“Maybe it’s the openness of the delivery, the honest timbre of the voices or the confident direct beauty of the song arrangements that gets us in. But something makes these songs seem crucial, breathless, and familiar – all at once. This record’s been a long time coming. Welcome to the new Vika & Linda album. Welcome to those voices. These voices have the ability to make a new tune sound timeless, to make something personal and private seem universal and classic. Like gospel music itself, comfortable and reassuring, at the same time inspired and elevated. These are the voices you need to get you through. And the songs can come along for the ride.” – Mick Thomas
The Wait is available now via Bloodlines.