Having avidly admired the BBC’s ‘Escape to the Country’ for many years, I had high expectations of the musical equivalent Brooklyn duo Widowspeak pursued with the rural recording of their second album ‘Almanac’. Robert Earl Thomas and Molly Hamilton were quite the urbanites before recording the album in a 100 year old barn, aiming to bottle the full and harmonious atmosphere into the album.
Hamilton’s vocals are ever hazy which draw instant connections to Mazzy Star. They frequently compliment the intricate and lucid showmanship Robert Earl Thomas parades on guitar, but overall the album’s unique originality seems to be left in the city. Pinpointing a particular stand-out track is impossible; pretty as ‘Almanac’ may be, the songs all stream into one. It’s fair to say you’ll get more musical variation if you listen to your washing machine for an hour. The album has encapsulated the spaciousness the barn offered but disappointingly not too much more. Trundling along at a mid tempo, it’s not until ‘The Dark Age’s splintering solo the album has your attention, and even that only lasts 14 seconds. ‘Perennials’ briefly captures the sound of the rain which the city couldn’t, but other than that their expedition proved fruitless.
There’s really not enough to say about the record. Yes it’s pretty and has glimpses of promise, but overall it feels impish, dreary and limp. It’s nothing to be remembered for; Mother Nature ought to send them back to the big smoke and pray they have another chance there.
Words: Dom Edge