Monday, November 16, 2009

True Widow - 'True Widow'

Between the 13th Floor Elevators and the Secret Machines, I’m convinced that the drugs must be great in Texas. I may one day add True Widow to that list as well. The band’s self-titled debut sports slow, sludgy tunes to that do to Autolux what Black Sabbath did to metal, namely, remove any semblance of blues or danceablility.

Admittedly, the album’s hour-long running time gets a bit too recycled near the end. True Widow is plodding and melancholy and haunting all the time, and the songs kind of blur together after a while. But in smaller doses, the record proves to be a solid collection of doom and/or gloom. The band definitely recalls Autolux whenever bassist Nicole Estill takes over mic duties, while frontman/lead songwriter Dan Phillips recalls the Seattle sound from the late ’80s/early ’90s. I wouldn’t be surprised to find a few Soundgarden albums in his record collection, although I should stress that True Widow is much, much slower than your average “Jesus Christ Pose.”

Still, it’s not half-bad. The record definitely comes off well with opener “AKA.” The M.O. is right there from the get-go with this stoned-out, sludgy jam fest. About halfway through the album, the sixth track “Flat Back” switches up the formula a bit by actually having pep. Yeah, it’s crazy.

I don’t mean to sound redundant, but True Widow is a spacey record, plain and/or simple. It’s there in the druggy vocals of, say, “All You Need.” It’s certainly there in every guitar texture contained throughout. It shows potential for something greater, perhaps a How It Feels To Be Something On-style prog-rock explosion, Z-esque country, or a Future Perfect shoegazer. As is, True Widow is a decent album from a band still in fresh from its formation.

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