Widowspeak are essentially a duo starring Molly Hamilton on guitar and vocals and Robert Earl Thomas on spacey guitar. Hamilton comes from Tacoma, Washington and originally formed the band with fellow Tacoma native Michael Stasiak. After meeting Thomas, they made their debut self-titled album in 2011 and hired bass player Pamela Garavano-Coolbaugh (who seems to also be part of Captured Tracks, their record label) for extensive touring. Stasiak and Garavano-Coolbaugh, then left the band. Here they are a four piece with Hamilton, Thomas and two members who I haven’t managed to name.
They released a new album All Yours in 2015 produced by Brooklyn tunesmiths Woods’ own Jarvis Taveniere but although there’s a lot of recorded music to choose from I rather liked this KEXP session with its soft power and atmosphere. When I read about them, people talk about Mazzy Star and Fleetwood Mac but they have something very much their own with melodies that seem to float intriguingly to parts of the room that you hadn’t noticed before, landing amongst the flowers on the dining-room table, perfuming the photographs on the unplayed piano and settling on the patterned cushions in the front room. Thomas’ guitar style, here drenched in reverb, reminds me a little of Vini Reilly and that is the closest I get to comparison – Hope Sandoval singing in The Durutti Column.
This performance for KEXP Seattle recorded in 2014 plays three tracks – True Believer, Calico and the title track from their 2013 EP, The Swamps. Thick As Thieves is from Almanac their second album produced by Kevin McMahon and recorded in 2012 and released in 2013. With three albums and an EP to catch up on, Widowspeak seem like they will continue to be arty and interesting and that means we need to buy their records to encourage them to continue to make them.
Thick As Thieves