Grass Widow

Grass Widow

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Though nominally connected to the lo-fi underground, the San Francisco trio Grass Widow's debut is filled with far more attention to melody and arrangement than many of their noise-loving peers. Clocking in at a slim 22-and-a-half minutes, none of the nine songs exceed the three-minute mark. There is also nothing wasted. The songs are filled with carefully layered harmonies ("Out of Body Experience"), counterpoints (Raven Mahon's guitar on "Celebrate the Mundane"), and a pocketful of loping surf and girl group grooves that keep the proceedings sunny. Pleasantly rough edges add a vitality to the songs, and it is hard not to compare Grass Widow to their East coast comrades in the Vivian Girls (and Mahon and bassist Hannah Lew formerly played with founding Vivians drummer Frankie Rose), but Grass Widow absolutely excels in their attention to detail. They even tackle instrumentals, like "Long Walk on the Beach," which is hardly a throwaway, but moves with equal breeze, verve, and purpose into a Breeders-like deconstruction. Substantiative without being weighty, Grass Widow's self-titled debut is an idea-filled starting point.

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