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WIDOWSPEAK

Widowspeak

The Jacket

    Written in the months before and after the release of their critically acclaimed fifth album Plum, The Jacket feels like a full-circle moment for the duo of singer-songwriter Molly Hamilton and guitarist Robert Earl Thomas. Thematically, it considers Plum’s broader questions about the values ascribed to one’s time and labor through the more refined lens of performance and music-making. This is due in part to the band’s recent return to New York City, the site of their own origin story, where they recorded The Jacket at the Diamond Mine with coproducer and noted Daptone Records affiliate Homer Steinweiss.

    Reunions always breed reflection, and Hamilton admits that much of the album’s themes are tied to formative experiences in the band’s own early years. Some songs speak to the process of moving on (“Unwind”, “Salt”), while others muse about regret (“True Blue”, “Forget It”). The album’s namesake track considers the literal and figurative costumes we dress our personalities in: imbued with meaning and sense of time and place, becoming so representative of who we think we are before they’re ultimately left behind. The symbolic spaces of work, music, nightlife are seen through the haze of recalling one’s own unknown legends.

    Sonically, The Jacket finds the band at their usual and best: dynamics shift seamlessly between gentle, drifting ballads and twangy jams, built up from layered guitars, dusty percussion and ambling bass lines. Elsewhere: whimsical flutes, choral textures, and basement organs. Thomas’s guitar playing is as lyrical and emotive as it’s ever been, and Hamilton’s voice: comfortable and effortless. This seamless dynamic is amplified perfectly in the mix by Chris Coady (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Beach House). Widowspeak expertly pepper in slow-core, dream-pop, pacific northwest indie, and outlaw country, resulting in a 60s-meets-90s aesthetic. This sense of sonic nostalgia adds another layer to lyrics that reflect on old selves, invented and true. The Jacket is a wizened meditation on performance and past lives from a band who’ve seen their fair share, hitting their stride now over a decade in.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: Grooving bass and flickering percussion underpin the psychedelic vocal delivery and hypnotic driven guitars of the brilliant Widowspeak, and it's on 'The Jacket' we really get to see them shine. A wonderfully engrossing and brilliantly satisfying listen.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. While You Wait
    2. Everything Is Simple
    3. Salt
    4. True Blue
    5. The Jacket
    6. Unwind
    7. The Drive
    8. Slow Dance
    9. Forget It
    10. Sleeper

    Widowspeak

    Plum

      With Plum, the songwriting partnership rooted in the creative rapport between bandleader Molly Hamilton and guitarist Robert Earl Thomas continues to expand on shared visions, delving deeper into what was always there: dusty guitars, ear-worm melodies, warm expansive arrangements. Each entry to their catalog has marked a subtle reimagining of Widowspeak’s sound, though perennial points of reference remain the same: 90's dream pop, 60's psych rock, a certain unshakeable Pacific-Northwestness. Speaking to the timeless feeling of each, the albums continue to be discovered well beyond their respective PR cycles, made beloved by new listeners through word of mouth.

      The band’s fifth album feels comfortable and lived-in: humble in structure, heavy on mood. Perhaps that came taking time off from the touring grind, instead working full-time jobs and settling into the rhythm of daily life in a small upstate New York town. Plum was recorded over a handful of weekends last winter by Sam Evian (Cass McCombs, Kazu Makino, Hannah Cohen) at his Flying Cloud studio in the Catskills, and was mixed by Ali Chant (PJ Harvey, Aldous Harding, Perfume Genius). In addition to Hamilton (vocals, guitar) and Thomas (guitars, bass, synth), it features instrumental contributions by Andy Weaver (drums), Michael Hess (piano), and Sam himself (bass, synth). Plum nestles into the band’s canon like it was always there, but with new textures coming to the fore, like the polyrhythmic pulse of "Amy" and "The Good Ones", or the watery, Terry Riley-influenced track "Jeanie".

      Plum navigates the spaces between the lesser emotions of modern life. Hamilton’s lyrics speak to the unique turmoil of anyone who creates as their work, who must somehow survive off such "fruits of their labor." Yet, Widowspeak have always made a bitter pill much easier to swallow. The majestic "Breadwinner", the luminous "Even True Love" – these songs here were made to be listened to, enjoyed. "Money" is particularly hypnotic, built around a repeating, cyclical motif that serves as both skeleton and body. "Will you get back what you put in?" Hamilton asks over an insistent guitar riff. The line is delivered with a knowingness that transcends its surface critiques of late-stage capitalism, asking both herself and the listener whether this is, in fact, the world we want to live in. Through Plum, Widowspeak have brought something into the world that seems to know its own worth, even as it wonders aloud about what is to come. What value and meaning do we assign ourselves, our time, and how do we spend it?

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: Widowspeak mix the swooning, airy aspects of country with drifting melodic twists and a gorgeous, heady production aesthetic. A rewarding and heartening experience, exactly as you'd expect from such stellar talent, and a perfect fit for Captured Tracks.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Plum
      2. The Good Ones
      3. Money
      4. Breadwinner
      5. Even True Love
      6. Amy
      7. Sure Thing
      8. Jeanie
      9. Y2K


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