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True Widow

True Widow

Talk about coming from proverbially nowhere; after several days of enjoying various streams of this record and eventually tracking this sucker down, I find myself completely hooked on the slow, relaxed rhythms and mellow vocal arrangements on True Widow's debut album. If ever there was a soundtrack to numb apathy, True Widow must be it. This Texas three-piece (comprised of Dan Phillips on guitar and vocals, Nicole Estill on bass and vocals, and Timothy Starks on drums) is a breath of surprisingly fresh air. To me they sound like a post-rock band on Quaaludes, but somehow writing some catchy as hell songs in the process.

True Widow accomplishes several milestones on their debut self-titled album which some bands take several albums or never achieve over the course of their lifetime: 1) Not one song sounds out of place on the record; 2) The band knows when to use volume and when to quiet things down and how to use such loud soft dynamics in their songwriting without being obvious about it; and 3) True Widow crafts a record so subtle in its arrangement and melodies that listeners do not immediately realize just how catchy it is.

The rhythm section of this three piece is solid and keeps a great deal of this batch of songs moving; "AKA," "Duelist," "Sunday Driver," "Corpse Master," and "All You Need" all owe the drummer and bassist a great deal as they are integral to the compositions. The guitarist adds melodic flourishes like at times during "Sunday Driver" and "All You Need," pleasant accompaniment of the rhythm section with gentle plucking of the strings as in "AKA," and even some background noise like parts like the swelling sounds in "Duelist."

The vocals of Dan Phillips are really endearing in a weird way as they have such a disaffected quality to them creating a strange characteristic of these songs, and, save for carrying much of the vocals of Nicole Estill on the "Duelist" and "Bleeder," comprise the bulk of the records vocal sounds. I find myself listening to this record over and over again. From the opener "AKA" until the last strains of "KR," the record just strikes a chord with me. "Sunday Driver" is a gem; a slow and steady track that is just catchy as hell with the disaffected vocals adding to the mood very much making the music such a downer while still staying pretty sounding, and equally impressive are the dynamic shifts in the song play out like waves crashing on a seashore as the rolling rhythm section continually propels the track along like a car driving on some dark highway late at night or early in the morning. "All You Need" is a delicate, melodic tour de force with nice harmonized vocals, neatly plucked guitars, and the rolling rhythm section that makes True Widow; the vocals come across as if they are pleading for some stay of execution.

For a debut, this self-titled album from True Widow is impressive. And while the band seems to steer clear of many of the current trends in indie and underground music, this three-piece fashions a pleasant record that bears repeat listening. True Widow is subtly catchy and rather infectious in a good way. The record has a slow burn feel where the band does not quite release the tension, which is equally good. I only hope that there is not a two-four year wait for the next record.

7.9 / 10Bob
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