All Yours

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For Widowspeak, the years after the release of 2013's Almanac and the Swamps EP were marked by departures and returns: Molly Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas left Brooklyn for the Catskills and reunited with Woods' Jarvis Taveniere, who produced their debut, when it was time to make All Yours. Using his gift for making any album he works on sound effortless, Taveniere helps them embrace Almanac's velvety country and classic rock even more fully and naturally, with results that sound more fresh-faced than theatrical. Compared to the duo's other albums, All Yours is downright restrained: "Hands" echoes the gentle drift of their debut even though it glides along on tasteful strings and keyboards instead of distorted guitars, while "Narrows" transforms the duo's lingering shoegaze impulses into shimmering drones. However, this pared-down approach makes room for Widowspeak's increasing twang to emerge even more confidently on the title track, as well as for more adventurous moves like "My Baby's Gonna Carry On," which uses '60s and '70s psych-rock trappings -- a "Sunshine Superman" bassline, rippling Rhodes fills, and busy percussion -- in ways that sound remarkably ungimmicky. All Yours also puts the spotlight on just how much Widowspeak's songwriting has grown over the years; "Coke Bottle Green" is a fascinating combination of traditional country and folk structure and 21st century domesticity ("I want windows I can fill/With any life I can't kill"). Like Fleetwood Mac, whose influence permeated Almanac, Hamilton and Thomas excel at setting heartbroken lyrics to addictively catchy melodies. All Yours is filled with painful memories lying just underneath its honeyed surface; "Dead Love (You're So Still)" cloaks frustration with an old flame in head-bobbing hooks. Hamilton sounds as sweet as ever on these barbed, ambivalent songs, whether she's lamenting a galaxy's worth of emotional distance on "Cosmically Aligned" or chasing a feeling as fleeting as a high on the gorgeous "Stoned." Nevertheless, her most thoughtful lyrics aren't about a lover, but her relationship to other, younger women: as she sings "Further from my wilder years/I get kinder to the younger girls" over guitars that burn like a grudge, "Girls" illustrates the dance between jealousy and affection simply and brilliantly. Moments like these make All Yours Widowspeak's most self-assured and vulnerable album yet.

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