staff picks
Almanac

Kind of a hipster hippie vibe on this one - very cool band name, leaves, rocks, waterfall, clothing, hair, shoes, body language, - based on the album art, I felt like I had to know what the music would sound like.

And at first I wasn't that into the music. But as is often the case, I probably wasn't paying very close attention at first and probably wasn't in the most appealing first listen environment. Most albums sound best on headphones for the first listen. Best to get up close and personal with the music, and then open it up to wider and noisier environments like an old used car, where, since you're already a little familiar, you can still recognize the music's qualities even if you can't hear them as well.

The music started to grow on me. I started to find much of the guitar work to be catchy and memorable, having sort of a dark and weighty quality to it, and sometimes almost a kind of spacey, cinematic, western feeling. The lyrics took a little longer, and I'm still trying to figure them out, but Molly Hamilton's singing style is reminiscent of other high and dreamy stylists like Isobel Campbell. In fact, listeners who are fond of Isobel Campbell's collaborations with Mark Lanegan may find a lot to like here, with the dark, moody Lanegan vocals replaced by Robert Earl Thomas's dark, moody guitar presence.

I especially admired the song "Ballad of the Golden Hour" for its urgency, its lovely and varied guitar work, and its clarity - Hamilton comes out from behind her shy, dreamy style more than anywhere else on the album and it's clear that as a vocalist, when she works more directly with the distinctive and attractive music of Widowspeak, rather than floating dreamily around it, this band easily shifts gears from good to great.

Sincerely,

Constant Listener (aka Andrew Lee)

Widowspeak - "Ballad of the Golden Hour"

Leave a comment

Commenting is closed for this article.

More Picks

The Meek Shall Inherit What's Left
Kiss Kiss
The Meek Shall Inherit What's Left
Real Emotional Trash
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
Real Emotional Trash
The Lone Bellow
The Lone Bellow
The Lone Bellow
Shine
Estelle
Shine
The Origin of Love
Mika
The Origin of Love
Option Paralysis
The Dillinger Escape Plan
Option Paralysis
The Bends (Collector's Edition)
Radiohead
The Bends (Collector's Edition)
Hold Time
M. Ward
Hold Time
Paul's Boutique (20th Anniversary Edition)
Beastie Boys
Paul's Boutique (20th Anniversary Edition)
Astro Coast
Surfer Blood
Astro Coast
@#%&*! Smilers
Aimee Mann
@#%&*! Smilers
Set You Free
Gary Allan
Set You Free
In Ear Park
Grindstone
Shining
Grindstone
Tempest
Bob Dylan
Tempest
Shrines
Purity Ring
Shrines
Broken Bells
Broken Bells
Broken Bells
Walking on a Dream
Empire of the Sun
Walking on a Dream