Widowspeak – The Swamps review

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Originally published for Notion.

Not even a year has passed since Widowspeak released Almanac, the brilliant follow-up to their self-titled 2011 debut, yet already they are back with new EP, The Swamps. The artwork is testament to the phrase ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’, with the image of an empty forest lit only by the moonlight indicative of the EP’s dark and broody but equally alluring sound.

Along with the announcement of the new EP, the Brooklyn-based duo released one of its tracks, ‘True Believer’, which showcases everything that is great about the band’s sound, from the droning guitar to Molly Hamilton’s hazy vocals that make you want to drift off into another world. The way the duo combine such beautifully haunting melodies with sweet, endearing, butter wouldn’t melt vocals has always been one of their greatest facets, and this remains the case on The Swamps.

The band really seem to embrace their country influences on tracks like ‘Smoke and Mirrors’, with the intro sounding almost like a country hoe-down, until Hamilton’s woozy vocals bring back that wonderful dreamy, otherworldliness they do so well. There is a slight turning point in tone on ‘Brass Bed’, with the lightness of the acoustic guitar and keys making it the softest track on the EP. There’s a childlike innocence to Hamilton’s lyrics here, (“Baby can we play dead / Laying in our brass bed”), highlighting the theme of nostalgia that runs through the EP, as though Hamilton is longing for a simpler time.

With the EP being described as a bridge between Almanac and an as-of-yet untitled third studio album, it is clear that Widowspeak feel they have a lot to get out of their systems, and if The Swamps is anything to go by then whatever is left to come seems promising.

The Swamps is out now on Captured Tracks

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