“Everything is simple ’til it’s not.” These are the opening words “Everything is Simple”, a song from new Widowspeak album The Jacket, that correctly encapsulates the spellbinding journey of this record. An album adorned by, no other than, a leather jacket folded on the front cover. Simple at its best, but arguably where its strength lies the most.
Standing six albums tough, Widowspeak gives instruments their space to breathe on these tracks. Clean and center bass lines add to the melancholy as their crisp snare drums barge through the speakers. Molly Hamilton’s voice, soft as silk, is a beckoning call into a speakeasy underground bar where anonymity is yours. The bartender already has your order memorized and there’s comfort in sitting alone.
This is the main takeaway from this album. Widowspeak creates a dream-like netherworld where you’re subjected to thinking deeply of the lives around you, as well as your own. This is evident in the opening track, ‘While You Wait.’ And one would be wrong to disregard how much it sounds like Mazzy Star, but maybe this act of transporting is simply the point.
Even with one of their more upbeat tracks like ‘Unwind,’ the lyrics still hold true to a shelter they’ve created for listeners. ‘You’re free / Now you’ve come undone from me’ these words repeat, unfurling from the chorus like arms that once held you down. The album is shoegaze at its finest, and considering it’s this long into Widowspeak’s career, is a testament to what authenticity in the music industry looks like.
‘True Blue’ sings of a person who is long gone, but still on Hamilton’s mind. The guitar breakdown is sandwiched perfectly between verses of her lonesome singing, bringing a fire back into the track when it’s almost lost.
But it’s the title track that has to be the piece-du-resistance of the record. With distorted guitar and talk of broken hearts on sleeves, it becomes crystal clear why the album was named after it. It pulls the rest of the record together. Placed directly in the middle at track five, it’s the spine that holds the album.
Widowspeak is not only planning a headline tour this spring but will be supporting Clairo for select dates on her tour. And the tracks from this album make for the perfect opener of a Clairo show.
Blissful, listeners can find comfort in the smallest of corners of the album. Widowspeak has cultivated a record devoid of cliches, full of honesty, and ripe in heartache. Like a thick cardigan, wrapping up in The Jacket keeps the cold out, and the good music in.