Young Widows - Old Wounds
Record Label: Temporary Residence Ltd
Release Date: September 9, 2008
After Steve Sindoni left the Louisville, KY noisecore band Breather Resist, the three remaining members decided to record the follow up to Charmer. The band, however, had changed styles substantially and a name change was eminent. Thus Breather Resist became Young Widows. Ditching the noisecore sound, Young Widows took influence from early 1990s indie bands The Jesus Lizard and the Melvins. The band released their first album, Settle Down City on Jade Tree Records.
Their sophomore effort, Old Wounds, finds the band on Temporary Residence Ltd. The band has broken the dreaded "sophomore slump" and released an album fathoms above Settle Down City and everything Breather Resist ever made. It's clear the band is still heavily influenced by The Jesus Lizard, Fugazi, and Big Black.
Opener "Took a Turn" starts with heavy distorted bass and Evan Patterson’s deep vocals. The drums kick in and the band provides a bass heavy groove. The guitar work on this song, as with much of the album is put on the back burner. Patterson will occasionally throw in a great riff, but the distorted bass and pounding drums overpower it.
The music sounds great, though. Uber-producer Kurt Ballou (Converge) uses this album as an experiment, recording in many different environments. The band recorded for eight days in Ballou’s Godcity Studios and also took him on tour to record all of their sets. Whilst mixing, the band took the best parts from studio sessions and live sets and seamlessly edited them together. Most songs on the album are a mix between live and studio recordings, with the crowd noise thrown in for good measure. The cool thing about this is you cannot tell what is studio and what is live (aside from the crowd noise), the production is that good.
Lyrically, the band is not at its strongest. Most songs find Patterson repeating lines over and over and over. "21st Century Invention" is basically him yelling the title repeatedly throughout the song.
The standout track on this album is "Old Skin." Beginning with more heavy bass and drums, Patterson joins in from the get go with an excellent riff. The only problem with the track is the problem that most of the album faces, the continuous yelling of "Old skin! Old skin!" The song is entirely too short, cutting off almost abruptly into the next track.
The album follows the same formula throughout except for "The Guitar," a slow ride without drums. Patterson’s vocal style on this song is different on this song too, and if he sang like this throughout the album, it would be a lot better. That’s not to say that the album is bad. It is better than their previous effort and a solid album all around. I expect that if Young Widows continue this progression, their next album will be a contender for album of the year.