True Widow - As High As The Highest Heavens And From The Center To The Circumference Of The Earth
Record Label: Kemado Records
Release Date: March 26, 2011
If you were to drop acid, submerge your entire body in a water tank and simply lose all feeling in your body while the world was erupting in dismay and chaos outside the glass, that would be the feeling of undertow one gets when listening to True Widow's second album. It's a record of not only beautifully executed lush timbre, it is also one of the best experiences you will have with music this year. The dark undertone and floating vocal lines layer well among some of the best instrumental tones I've heard since first discovering My Bloody Valentine. As High As The Highest Heavens And From The Center To The Circumference Of The Earth doesn't just sound good, it grabs hold of every intricate audible sense in your nervous system for the entire journey of the album.
While the first song released, "Skull Eyes," doesn't stray far from the band's self-titled debut, the following two tracks, "NH" and "Boaz," show the band opening up to broader strokes of their instrumental brushes and more impacting mixes of both their vocal and instrumental counterpoint. "NH" is the shining light and the drifting vibe right before the more sludgy dissonance of "Boaz," crafting a perfect ebb and flow. When "Boaz" picks up a little more than halfway through, the record really comes to life above any sort of fleeting flat feel the first few listens might garner some listeners.
"Jackyl" sets the picture of dreary resin the rest of the album showcases. Nicole Estill's voice gets tied up in the back of your head with haunting images of the past and fears yet to be seen. There's safety and solace in her delivery, but the accompanied music's darkened tones counter that feeling very forcefully. Repeat listens of As High As The Highest Heavens pull out even more layers and counterpoint in each of the songs' rotations, giving a new feel to the album each time. But it's the washing out of the record that's the best I've heard in a long time. In a little under a minute, the simplicity of Dan Phillips and his guitar channel what sounds like a rare Nirvana basement demo in "Interlude," while "Doomseer" builds up the audible scene with key changes, high frequency squeals and one hell of a build and release. Though outsiders of the band tuning in will hear monotony, it's the subtle changes throughout each song that garner the real reward for rabid listeners.
True Widow won't have as much of a mass appeal as music enthusiast would hope because of the band's drudging execution. For those ears who have been trained, As High As The Highest Heavens And From The Center To The Circumference Of The Earth is that album of delicate pay-offs throughout. If there's a problem with True Widow's second album, it's that there's no instant gratification. For some of us, that's the best part, and most importantly, the key to its radiating mural of sound. Take a week with the record. At its very least, it should make you want to delve into newer territory in your musical library, even if you think this is a bit of a challenge to get through.
I need this record. Only listened to it once on NPR's website, but it sounds amazing. Their self-titled is one of my favorites. That being said, I think the title of this album is kind of, well, shitty. Not really a fan. Even so, it doesn't make any less excited to delve into the music itself.