It’s quite interesting when a band’s sound is totally at odds with the images and vibes of their hometown or state. When someone says Texas, you don’t immediately think of cold, moody basslines, guitars and vocals drenched in sorrow and a gloomy atmosphere all around. However, that’s exactly what we have in the shape of True Widow.
Despite being released by Relapse, the trio’s new album Circumambulation is far removed from metal, laying its devotion to brooding post punk and the ambience of shoegaze.
First track, ‘Creeper’ sets a tone straight away, even just with its name, followed by a lonesome guitar sauntering in. It’s here where we are introduced to first vocalist, DH Philips (guitar also) and his disconsolate drawl. However, it’s his pairing with bassist Nicole Estill that really sets this album apart. Her ghostly spectral vocals are an inimitable presence and the perfect accompaniment. This becomes abundantly clear when she drifts onto the scene with the utterly stunning ‘Four Teeth’.
Circumambulation has quite a clearly defined flow, that of two valleys and a midway trough. The middle passages crafted by ‘Numb Hand’ and ‘Trollstigen’ show the band at their most lethargic and sullen, where the despair is almost too much handle. But for all their hazy melancholy, True Widow are still a band with several hooks in their arsenal. The aforementioned ‘Four Teeth’ is a perfect example but the record’s closing tracks like ‘HW:R’ are rife with lush Mazzy Star-esque vibes and sultry guitars that are totally unforgettable.
Meanwhile, closer ‘Lungr’ is one last smoke of melancholia with gorgeous vocal harmonies and a gently rumbling bass that’s totally hypnotic, its lullaby trance wrapping up the record superbly.
Despite its lonesome and forlorn feel and atmosphere, the album is rather rich and dense, with a lot to soak in once given the time and then it becomes clear that Circumambulation is one of 2013’s most beautiful yet dark records and one you can easily become lost in.
Circumambulation is out now from Relapse Records