Delving further into the murky depths the band started exploring on 2011's In and Out of Youth & Lightness, Young Widows continue to refine their gloomy noise rock sound on their fourth album, Easy Pain. Languid and harsh, the album's nocturnal sound feels like the perfect fusion of Nick Cave's ominous drawl and the Jesus Lizard's simmering contempt. Like an inevitable confrontation, the songs here slowly and patiently come to a head, filling the album's cavernous expanses with a sense of impending doom as they lumber through the darkness. This sense of imminent danger is where Easy Pain thrives, and every time the album can make you squirm, its strength grows. Songs like "Doomed Moon" feel designed to breed a sense of growing conflict as Evan Patterson delivers lines like "If you tried to avoid me it seems you failed" almost too casually, creating a stark contrast between his voice and the guttural, distorted bass and pounding drums that usher the song forward. The interplay between the calm vocals and seething volatility of the instrumentation constantly creates the feeling that the songs could experience a cathartic explosion at any moment, and when they don't, it only builds the tension further. By the time the album reaches its conclusion, the lurching start-and-stop rhythms of "The Last Young Widow" are perfectly placed to push the listener over the edge with its punishing denouement. While Young Widows might not be as loud as they used to be, it's possible that the band's sound is as heavy, or heavier, than it has ever been, making Easy Pain the band's moodiest and most engaging work to date.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney