True Widow – Circumambulation

I stumbled upon True Widow while browsing their label’s SoundCloud page and was just mesmerized by their sound which channels this amazing, offbeat, infatuation-inducing vibe. Their album, “Circumambulation”, can be defined as Rock/Stoner/Shoegaze, but is really more of an aura than a bunch of audio tracks in this or that genre; Call it a nameless calming atmosphere, an air of introspection – this honest expression embraces the listener with drugging quality that evokes in your mind the sad realistic and the sedatingly surreal. To some that will mean nostalgia, memories. To others, it’ll reflect the present, either way painting the complexity of life in film noir-like black, white and grey hues.

Sonically-speaking, True Widow achieve this abstract experience through such minimalist means it’s quiet a phenomena; It’s like the band stripped down a genre to its most basic elements – and this bared, naked place, is exactly where emotion can facilitate in its purest form. Not just through the notes played, but more so in the space between them notes – silence and echoes being an element in itself; and also repetition.

While the band’s sound & instrumentation don’t ever fully enter the psychedelic\stoner realm, the guys’ slow, repeating riffs do borrow the genres’ hypnotic gloom and occult-like vibe, which fits with their album name – “Circumambulation” – meaning the act of moving around a sacred object or idol, commonly found in most religions. Such a title represents well the meditative and nocturnal aura this release is all about. Though while many retro-esque bands nowadays choose to be exclusively occult and obscure, True Widow sets themselves apart by maintaining an ambiguous unique balance point between the past and present day culture, between dreams and reality, that has an undeniable universal charm to it.

Though I’ve described the music in very unspecific terms, the ethereal textures offered on the album actually own much of their subtle strength and staying aura to the sublime vocals of Dan Phillips and Nicole Estill, who do a great job when singing separately and when joining their voices together. My two definite favorite tracks here can help define this hard-to-label album, as they represent its two contrasting facets – these are the heavier “Trollstigen” and the quieter, more pop-oriented listen that is “Fourth Teeth“.
Hear the latter below and be sure to check the rest of this release at True Widow’s bandcamp page. This album gets a solid 7.5/10 from me.

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