Widowspeak: Expect the Best (Captured Tracks) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Expect the Best

Captured Tracks

Sep 06, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

As anyone who has ever tried to characterize music through words can tell you, assigning genre labels often seems limiting and incomplete, like having three crayons to color in an entire scene. This is especially so at a time when there’s much genre blending and crossover, creating subtle new shades. Brooklyn’s Widowspeak must have run into this issue when trying to describe their music, which is why they cleverly created their own genre moniker, “Cowboy Grunge.” It’s a fitting signifier for their overall tone of easy drifter dream pop that saunters like a trusty horse in the desert heat, occasionally hitting stride with the wind.

The meandering sound of Widowspeak that dangles around the subdued vocals of Molly Hamilton has been unhurried and “unfussed” since their 2011 self-titled debut, when Hamilton’s innocently yearning confessions of young love and reckoning were introduced within Robert Earl Thomas’ pensive guitar frameworks. The band essentially became a duo of Thomas and Hamilton for 2013’s Almanac and 2015’s All Yours. For Expect the Best, their fourth release on Brooklyn’s Captured Tracks, Hamilton used her time in her native Tacoma, Washington for writing, which lends a nomadic feel. It was time well spent. There is no dramatic creative shift here. The essence of Mazzy Star co-mingles with the presence of Brian Jonestown Massacre meeting The Jesus and Mary Chain over a spliff, with all of the keen acknowledgement of the lingering echoes of instrumental utterance.

The added weight and girth of sound is perhaps owed to the inclusion of the rhythm section of drummer James Jano and bassist Willy Muse, and the recording talents of Kevin MacMahon (Swans, Real Estate). Climactic swells on “Let Me” along with album finale “Fly on the Wall” push the limits of their normal emotive output range, which begins to drift sleepily through the first listen, making you wish they would be so bold more often. Yet gratification comes in that sweet form of growing persuasion upon returning to tracks like opener “The Dream” and single “Dog,” which leave deeper impressions the more you hear them. Overall, Widowspeak sticks to its formula on Expect the Best, doubling down on conviction to a fuller effect. The familiar faded tonality now has punchier, richer hues. (www.widowspeak.bandcamp.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 5/10


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