On the new Expect the Best, dream-pop band Widowspeak return to a familiar sound | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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On the new Expect the Best, dream-pop band Widowspeak return to a familiar sound


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Widowspeak’s Molly Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas decamped from Brooklyn to the Catskills to make their 2015 album All Yours, which marked a shift in the duo’s sound. While Hamilton’s beautifully narcotic singing continued to reflect the influence of Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval, the poppy, crystal-­clear arrangements changed the complexion of the music in a big way—and with satisfying results. Turns out the change was temporary, though. After touring for the record, Hamilton returned to Tacoma, Washington, where she grew up; she was apparently in a state of flux, anxious about going home and what the future held. So maybe it’s not surprising that the songs she wrote there for the band’s new album, Expect the Best (Captured Tracks), reclaim an older, more familiar sound. Hamilton is inward and subdued in her honeyed singing, but the music contains an element of heightened aggression, as thickly textured guitars redolent of My Bloody Valentine seethe around her expressions of ennui. The melodies are lovely, and the tension between Hamilton’s luxuriant delivery and the guitar churn is impressive, but after the more sophisticated promise of All Yours, the new album feels like a bit of a letdown.   v

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