By Dan Miller
Friday, January 18, 2013
Widowspeak hails from Brooklyn. But the music on new album “Almanac” makes the band sound like it’s from farther away -- in distance and in time.
With unhurried tempos, the occasional accordion and a mixture of electric and acoustic guitars, the band conjures a world that is equal parts old West and heavenly otherworld. Widowspeak’s brand of all-American shoegaze incorporates unhurried tempos and a healthy amount of pillowy reverb.
Molly Hamilton’s drowsy voice is the constant that links all the tracks. She sounds a lot like Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval, her hushed vocals fading into the echoes of the music. She doesn’t demonstrate a great deal of range, but her ethereal nature is captivating and gives the album much of its character.
“Almanac” is consistent in tone but offers a different character from song to song. Standout tracks include “The Dark Age,” whose tension-filled stomp sets it apart. “Dyed in the Wool” gets a rousing dose of bluesy guitar, while “Devil Knows” is infused with light psychedelia.
On the whole, “Almanac” is a rewarding escapist listen. It’s easy to feel as if you want to sail away with the weightlessness of Hamilton’s voice.