Are you one of those people who felt The Raincoats should have given in to their pop tendencies? Honestly, how good was their cover of “Lola”? If you want to hear what that would sound like as a long-player, then welcome Grass Widow, a three-piece out of San Francisco’s blooming garage scene. Internal Logic, the band’s third outing, takes the angular bass lines, three-part female harmonies, and jangly guitars and blends them together to form a heaping pile of late 80′s/early 90′s nostalgia that could easily soundtrack your favorite Pete and Pete episode, a soundtrack that would no doubt make little Pete’s tattoo, Petunia, dance the night away.
Grass Widow is a pop band at their core, and they are at their best when they allow this identity to bubble up to the forefront. The vocal interplay between Hannah Lew, Raven Mahon, and Lillian Marling forms a three-headed serpent of sugary harmonies. This works in their favor throughout Internal Logic, especially on the breezy “Disappearing Industries”, a textbook, three-chord pop rush where the ladies of Grass Widow weave a tapestry of delicate harmonies. “Own your head” is the rallying cry throughout the surf sludge of “Spock on Muni”. The lyric should have been “own your sound,” since that is what Grass Widow have done throughout their three-album discography, and, coincidentally, it’s what drags down Internal Logic.
The nagging flaw of Internal Logic is that it’s a mirror image of the band’s previous outings. Is it wrong to criticize a solid album based on a band staying so close to their comfort zone? One can’t help but long for some sort of sonic expansion, though. Granted, Grass Widow branches out on two tracks – the Spanish guitar instrumental “A Light in the Static” and the piano outro of “Response to Photographers” – but they’re oddballs and jarringly out of place. Incorporating these elements into their traditional guitar/bass/drums setup would’ve led to more interesting results. Still, it’s hard to deny the lilting melodies that make Internal Logic such an easy album to like, but loving it might take a little bit more work on their part.
Essential Tracks: “Disappearing Industries” and “Spock on Muni”