Widowspeak – Almanac [album review]

by Woody on April 8, 2013

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I hadn’t heard of Widowspeak prior to a review that showed a picture of the Almanac’s cover. The cover showed the bands protagonists – Molly Hamilton & Robert Earl Thomas in an outdoor setting with a lovely waterfall in the background. My mind immediately drifted to a couple knocking out some twangy numbers full of harmonies.

Well, that turned out to be a fortuitous mistake as Widowspeak sound nothing like that. Built around Hamilton’s hazy vocals and Thomas’s guitar work. Upon seeing them live at SXSW, I tweeted, “the bearded fella in Widowspeak sure knows what to do with a guitar.” and that is somewhat of an understatement as Thomas’ intricate and dazzling work sounds really takes this band to another level.

The songs all have this spacious, dreamy quality. I have described as a slightly more rocking version of Beach House. On the third track, The Dark Age, Thomas lets out a distorted squeal out at 1:20 and launches into a quick and powerful solo that highlights the central theme of the album. You never know what you’re going to get. Songs consistently take left turns – sometimes they are gradual and looping – others, sharp and pronounced.

That all being said, I wasn’t completely won over until I saw their satin tour jackets shown in the video below. Jokes aside, Almanac is a great listen and they are treat to see live. They will be at Schuba’s this Saturday while I attend a wedding.

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