[30 October 2013]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Following the bright haze of last year’s great Almanac, Widowspeak is back with The Swamp, a companion EP of sorts. It’s not so much a stopgap as it is a progression of Almanac‘s sound that could lead into the next record the pair have, apparently, already started on. The EP begins in the same bittersweet gauze the last record gave us on the dusty and jangling “Smoke and Mirrors”. It’s song with a surprisingly sturdy background under Molly Hamilton’s ethereal vocals and those rippling guitars. “Calico” continues the desert expanse feel, though pares back the percussion to make something darker, more shadowy. It leads to a more overcast feel on later tracks like “True Believer” and the title track. The EP moves nicely from the light into the dank shadows its title implies, and the band remains as tuneful as ever throughout. It may stick a little close to what we expect from the band at times, but there are subtle textural shifts that hint at bigger changes to come. In that way, The Swamp packs some surprises, and enough solid tunes to make it a worthy companion to Almanac.