for the Widowspeak/ Boyhood/ Hollows show on 7.5 at Golden West!
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Widowspeak ( Captured Tracks, from NY… FACEBOOK)
Boyhood (mem White Wires, from Canada… BANDCAMP)
Hollows (Trouble in Mind Records, from Chicago… WEBSITE)
“It usually takes years of practice and several albums for bands to reach the crestfallen state Brooklyn trio Widowspeak showcase on their debut. Here, the music’s poignant rush came quickly: We’re told their debut single “Harsh Realm” was recorded after the band played a total of six shows. The fatalistic croon of singer/songwriter Molly Hamilton has already garnered plenty of Hope Sandoval comparisons. It would be remiss not to mention those here, as Hamilton’s phrasing is often nearly identical to her most obvious influence, but there’s enough variation in mood and texture to give this project a weight and balance all of its own.
Much of the credit is due to the versatile guitar lines traded between Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas. At times there’s a hollowed-out starkness and foreboding to the playing reminiscent of Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti western soundtracks (“Puritan”); at others there’s a meshing of hippy idealism and influences extracted from bad-vibes garage rock not dissimilar to Love at their peak (see the pleasingly atonal guitar solo that ripples through “Nightcrawlers”). The latter even bears a moody 1950s tenor that sounds like Alex Zhang Hungtai of Dirty Beaches with the filth cleaned out of his fingernails. Anyone looking to wallow in 1990s nostalgia will find much to gorge on, too— touchstones from that decade come thick and fast. For instance, when Hamilton’s not channeling Sandoval, and when the band crawls out of the doldrums into more upbeat territory (“Gun Shy”, “Half Awake”), she often resembles Madder Rose singer Mary Lorson.
The skill with which Widowspeak assimilates those parts into alluring song structures is what prevents this from being an exercise in tributary. There’s an ache to “Harsh Realm” that’s all their own, the central vocal line (“I always think about you”) bearing a downplayed creepiness that suggests Hamilton knows a thing or two about the ill effects of obsessive love. The one-two punch of “Gun Shy” and “Hard Times” are where the band hits its peak, the former combining their natural wistfulness with bouts of polished-up Link Wray guitar twang that wouldn’t sound out of place on the soundtrack to Tom DiCillo’s Johnny Suede. On “Hard Times” they bend everything around a featherlight pop framework that provides a perfectly melancholy backbone to Hamilton’s naturally listless demeanor: It has the right amount of sun and shade much of Widowspeak possesses, the lightness of touch in the arrangement preventing the songwriting from toppling over into unpalatable sorrow.”
Full review; HERE