Widowspeak prevails with fourth and latest album Expect the Best.
Widowspeak is an American indie rock band hailing from Brooklyn, New York. Formed by Washington natives Molly Hamilton and Michael Stasiak and Robert Earl Thomas, the band released their debut album Widowspeak in August 2011. The album was generally well received, according to Metacritic, ending up with the single “Harsh Realm” getting featured in an episode of American Horror Story, according to IMDB. Signed to Captured Tracks Record Label, the band released two more albums, Almanac (2013) and All Yours (2015). Their fourth album, Expect the Best (2017) was released in August. Their latest work continues to show that the band is a champion of mixing sweet, bubbly shoegaze with seductive and sensitive overtones.
The first track on the album, “The Dream” is a perfect introduction to the band. It’s infinitely upbeat and but has a heavy undertone. With influences rooted in The Velvet Underground, The Cranberries, REM and others, according to their official Facebook page, this band still has their own distinct brand of music. When the vocals kick in, it almost sounds like The Cranberries. But it’s not them; Widowspeak has their own intoxicating sound and it’s eloquent. The second track, “When I Tried” is a little more forgettable, but still pretty good nonetheless. It’s very upbeat enough in tempo but the lack of change in chords can make the song a little dull and boring at certain points for the listener who doesn’t like that certain harmony.
“Dog,” the third song and the first single off the album is cerebral, lush and morose. It’s soulful and inviting, and the overall mood of is still very rhythmic. Hamilton told NPR in June that the song is “about the compulsion to move on from things and places, even people, when you’re not necessarily ready to.” The song is peachy dream-pop mixed with a sad country twinge.
The following track, “Warmer,” flows right off the previous — dark and moody. It has another stroke of that dirty country feel right from the beginning. The track is as smooth as whiskey or wine, or maybe a craft beer. “Good Sport” is a completely stripped down song with some lo-fi guitar in the background while Hamilton croons into the headphones in the listener’s ear. It’s also a fairly short song, not even two minutes long. It’s the quietest and saddest song on the album.
“Let Me” picks up the tempo a bit, sounding a little like the Beach Boys. The song sounds like a surfer song but then again, just not quite. It still has a sound of its own. “Right On” is right out of an old school Western film. The track “Expect the Best” was probably the song that was the least enticing to listen to. There wasn’t enough depth to the track instrumentally. “Fly On The Wall” has the same vibe to it, except at the very end of the track when everything just bursts to life like a butterfly coming out from its cocoon for the first time. That one part is breathtaking and dynamic.
Overall, the album is pretty good. While it loses a little steam at the end, push through till the end. It’s still worth giving a full listen to. The sound is groundbreaking, epic and sure to leave a mark on indie rock forever.