WIDOWSPEAK – ” Money “

Posted: July 12, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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The stone that’s buried: what the fruit is for.” So goes the title track from Plum, Widowspeak’s forthcoming fifth album. The line serves as an apt analogy for the record itself: the self-aware sweetness that the band employs to deliver the seed of a harder, sharper idea. Singer Molly Hamilton coats wry observations in a voice as honeyed as the sun-ripened fruit, and Widowspeak have always made a bitter pill much easier to swallow. From its opening strum, there’s a palpable warmth and familiarity to the music even as it hints at darker truths below the surface, questions about inherent worth. What value and meaning do we assign ourselves, our time, and how do we spend it?
With Plum, the songwriting partnership rooted in the creative rapport between 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 catalogue 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.

“Money” is the latest track to be shared from Widowspeak’s upcoming long player “Plum”.

A song focused on the worth of contribution versus the cost of selling out, it is gloriously hypnotic, built on a cyclical repeating motif, with singer Molly Hamilton asking “Will you get back what you put in?” over an insistent guitar riff.

Plum carries a sense of unhurried self-awareness. It 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.
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”.
The broader themes that run through Plum are almost eerily prescient for the time of its release, written and recorded in the eve of a global pandemic. Hamilton couldn’t have predicted the relevancy of mesmerizing track “Breadwinner”, with its central analogy of bread as time as money, or the song’s yearning pleas to a partner who’s “always bringing their work home”. And on “Even True Love”, Hamilton acknowledges the imminent loss of those closest to us: “In the deepest wells, in the shallow sick/I can see you shaking in the great unknown/Will you learn to live with what you chose?/Even true love, you can’t take it with you”. They’re songs for our time to be sure, but Plum reckons with existential pain that was always there, that will endure well beyond social distancing and into our collective new reality.

Official video for Widowspeak’s new single “Breadwinner”.

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