Almanac is loaded heavy with jingling guitar riffs that tempt you closer to the speaker that is gently puffing out clouds of singer/songwriter Molly Hamilton’s whispering vocals. Simple rhymes tie together lines of poetic songwriting track after track.
With roots in Tacoma, Washington, the sublime sounds of Widowspeak now fly over a frantic and noisy Brooklyn. Widowspeak is an indie-rock based duo comprised of Hamilton and guitarist Robert Earl Thomas.
While the duo may have moved to The Big Apple, Almanac sounds like it was recorded in a forest, with reverb and echoes a product of trees and leaves and not pedals and editing (hear the cool echo of a clangy guitar in “Spirit is Willing”).
Hamilton is an indie-rock temptress of the shoe-gaze variety, understatedly whisper-singing through curls of dark hair. The album starts like a sunrise with the surging “Perennials”. The most complex track is “The Dark Age”, which picks up the tempo and dares to rock. If this is a representative sample of untapped alt-rock chops, Widowspeak is sitting on a gold mine.
While much of Almanac is generally light and airy, it is not static by any means. Different songs seem derived from different emotions. For all of the swagger and confidence in “Devil Knows” there’s its vulnerable counterpart in “Minnewaska “, telling us, “If we are afraid, afraid/ its ok to be afraid.”
Like the duo that produced it, Almanac is understated, yet doesn’t bore or lull itself into predictability. It feels like someone getting a few things that have been weighing on them off their chest, and by the end of the final crescendo of “Storm King” everything just feels a little better.