Widowspeak

Widowspeak

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Widowspeak may be a trio from Brooklyn, but on their self-titled debut record they sound more like the results of a dark Southern California night spent conjuring up the spirit of Mazzy Star. A creeping darkness and unsettlingly sweet gothic tone to their simple and direct sound call that band to mind. Vocalist Molly Hamilton has a definite Hope Sandoval whisper and halting croon to her voice as well. This isn’t to say that the band is ripping them off in any way; it’s more likely that they share similar influences and a gloomy outlook on life. They add some interesting elements to the basic sad-girl-singing-over-minor-chord-strum template, too. Guitarist Robert Thomas uses swirling feedback and a fat, surfy tone to color in the edges of the sound; his leads on songs like the hooky “Gun Shy” wouldn’t be out of place on a Chris Isaak record (not surprising considering that the band covered “Wicked Game” on an earlier single). There is a wide range of tempos on Widowspeak as well, ranging from the galloping rumble of “Puritan” to the swaggering strut of “Hard Times” and the molasses-slow crawl of “Ghost Boy.” Most importantly, despite the overall feeling of sadness, heartache, and melancholy that pervades the album, the band writes extremely catchy songs that you might find yourself singing along to through the tears -- “Gun Shy” for one, and the creepy, creeping “In the Pines,” the peppy “Fir Coat,” and the dynamic doo wop-inspired “Nightcrawlers,” to name a few more. There are no weak tracks and no filler, and the band (with the expert help of producer Jarvis Taveniere of Woods) creates a unique and richly arranged sound out of familiar elements. What more could you want from a debut album? If Widowspeak keep refining their sound and cranking out memorable and quietly impressive songs like they do here, they may end up being pretty special. Even if they don’t, though, this album will still be out there to help soothe and thrill you when you have a post-Mazzy itch you need to scratch.

blue highlight denotes track pick