This is the third Widowspeak release I’ve reviewed, and the first track, ‘Brass Bed’, is lively compared to the sleepy, smoky wooziness of their debut, with a brisk wooden beat. Lead singer Molly Hamilton gives her dreamy voice definition: “Baby can we play dead, laying in our brass bed? […] We’ve got a good life… I leave my shoes outside. They drag the soil in – I’m feeling sad again”, followed by echoing trilling strings (banjo or mandolin?). There is a mix of pleasure and fatalism (or pleasurable fatalism) in their songs.
They can defnitely get out of bed when they want to; Widowspeak are great at whirling, swirling guitar parts, very present in ‘Calico’. The stories of their songs are cool and almost grungy, daydreaming about a fantasy life, like the pages of a fashion magazine: “the house was a good one, though the yard was overgrown; your shirts were all tailored, by dresses were calico”. ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ feels like the strongest track on the EP, a lovely rattling drum part going into a happy whirlwind, and ‘Theme from the Swamps’ is a textured, echoing world of high and low strings, followed by the deeper notes of ‘The Swamps’, which is a bit more familiar and sedate. I always feel like I should be lying down when I’m listening to this band, on cushions or grass; ‘True Believer’ is like a summer memory. Widowspeak are well versed in creating atmospheric escapes, but this EP has more energy and momentum, too.
Words: Becky Varley–Winter