Widowspeak – The Swamps EP

widowspeak-epRating: ★★★☆☆

The Swamps isn’t nearly as gloomy as its cover and title might indicate.  Although the EP begins with a slow, somewhat melancholy introductory track, it soon gains momentum.  By the time the penultimate track, “True Believer” rolls around, the mood on this record could almost be called optimistic.

Musically, The Swamps is a bit more eclectic than Widowspeak’s first two albums.  At times, the band almost strays from the smooth, dream-pop sound of their previous work.  “Smoke and Mirrors” feels a bit like surf-rock, while “Calico” and “Brass Bed” are much lighter, folksier tunes.  Still, the band is instantly recognizable due to lead singer Molly Hamilton’s dragging, breathy vocals.  Hamilton has an effortless way of rising up into notes that reminds me strongly of Mazzy Star singer Hope Sandoval.

Lyrically, these songs combine the imagery of a swamp with both nostalgic and hopeful sentiments.  “Calico” and “Brass Bed” are about simple, domestic pleasures and reflect a lost sense of normalcy in a relationship, while “True Believer” is a more direct appeal for understanding.  “True Believer” contains a grand, sweeping chorus and is, for me, the best and most memorable song of the group.

I’m not the biggest dream-pop fan out there, and the songs on The Swamps might not be as strong as some of Widowspeak’s earlier tunes, but there’s something very compelling and soothing about the vocals throughout the record.  

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