Amidst all the heartache and lyrics from a forlorn lover, Widowspeak has crafted one gorgeous debut. The Brooklyn trio’s self-titled full length drifts along, immersing listeners in a dark spiral of dejection and heartbreak. Yet, their brand of hazy music-making somehow keeps the album from being an entirely depressing affair. Widowspeak strips away the reverb and noise that can tarnish recordings and focuses instead on haunting simplicity.
There’s an earnest nostalgia that permeates the recording, due in part to lead singer Molly Hamilton’s smoky vocals. Drawing comparisons to Mazzy Star, her whispery croon ambles amongst the jangle of guitars, providing much needed warmness to the album. Opener “Puritan” introduces Hamilton’s languid drawl, gaining momentum as guitars rise, turning into blissful fuzz. Tracks that could be entirely heart wrenching shine with their straightforward guitar and drum work. “Harsh Realm” packs a punch to the broken hearted with bellowing acoustics, as gritty and depressing as Hamilton’s vocals and lyrics.
Widowspeak features a sound that starts off soft, but as songs continue, it builds with swooping strings and a whisper that comes across as a scream. “In the Pines” explores experimental, eerie riffs and precise percussion that drifts off as quickly as it came. “Gun Shy” draws influence from its name, with strings that sound nabbed from a Western shoot-out. A woozy beginning with chirping birds builds to a dreamy chorus before the haze settles and returns to a slow twang. Closer “Ghost Boy” is the album’s final peak, a hazy shuffle of tambourines, kick drums, and ghostly hum of vocals rising to angelic ahhs with backing from a disconcerting organ.
For their full length, Widowspeak has created abrasive indie rock without overpowering noise, letting the vocals shine and meld with just a hint of reverb. It’s a promising brand of ethereal indie rock for a band just beginning.