Widowspeak – Widowspeak review

Widowspeak’s self-titled debut is short (10 tracks and 33 minutes) and not exactly new, but every song is so immaculately crafted that it doesn’t matter. Carried by Molly Hamilton’s ethereal, airy vocals, Robert Earl Thomas’s driving guitar and Michael Stasiak’s reserved, steady drums, Widowspeak creates an understated and deliberate musical backdrop for Hamilton to float her voice over.

The album begins at a slow burn, with “Harsh Realm” as a particular standout. Hamilton sounds as if she is calling out from a deep cave as she ends the song repeating the line, “I always think about you.” Widowspeak is wise to not blow out Hamilton’s voice with heavy distortion or cover it up with blaring guitars, which creates a nice juxtaposition on a number of songs between her vocals and the instrumental crescendo. On “Nightcrawlers” for instance, as the tempo accelerates and the guitars rise in volume, Hamilton’s voice remains steady and composed.

Much of the album could be rightly described as haunting or somber, but Widowspeak also prove that they can produce a catchy pop song with the album’s back end. “Fir Coat” in particular, bounces along at a fast temp with a great guitar riff and is the kind of song you will be singing in your head hours later.

Widowspeak sound great slow or fast, but the thematic clumping of the slower, darker songs in the album’s first half and the lighter, poppier songs in the album’s second half leads to some songs blending together. Over the course of a 10 track album this can be a bit of a problem. Still, the sound is consistently good, so one can forgive them for a little redundancy.

At the end of the day, if you listen to one song off of Widowspeak and enjoy it, you’ll like the whole thing. Widowspeak knows what they do and they do it well, but on their debut they rarely seem to reach outside of their comfort zone. It’s a promising debut from a band that clearly has their sound down and it will be interesting to see where they take it next.

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