True Widow ‘Avvolgere’ Review: Texas Stonegazers craft their finest effort to date.
Dallas, TX’s True Widow are experts at creating a sound that’s not easy to define…so much so that they came up with their own genre: stonegaze, splitting the difference between stoner rock and shoegaze.
And while their new album Avvolgere (out 9/23 via Relapse Records) may qualify as their “heaviest” outing to date, it’s still very much on their own terms. Opener Back Shredder is the closest the album comes to metal, its appropriate title encompassing its grungy, thick as molasses riff that conjures a din of blissful noise.
First single Theurgist is a perfect distillation of 90s alt-rock angst, with vocalist/guitarist Dan Phillips‘ sullen riff ably complimenting his hall-of-mirrors vocals.
True Widow’s greatest gift is how they blend harsh sonics with fragility, F.W.T.S:L.T.M is a gorgeous example, with MBV-worthy guitar fuzz dovetailing with Phillip’s keening vocal melody, while Sante comes on like a narcoleptic I Wanna Be Your Dog, with bassist/vocalist Nicole Estill’s ethereal coo providing counterbalance to Phillips’ droning riff and drummer Timothy “Slim” Starks’ glacial cymbal smashes.
Estill also lends her pipes to the trippy psych-ballad To All The He Elong, the most unadorned and stripped track, and she and Phillips join forces on The Trapper and The Trapped, their vocal harmonies ricocheting off the songs grinding tectonic distortion.
The album closes with What Finds Me, a bewitching fusion of honky-tonk guitar and Goth ambience that climaxes in submerged cavernous soundscapes. It’s a beautiful piece of sonic cinema, genre undetermined. True Widow continue to captivate while defying convention, and Avvolgere aptly showcases their beautiful ambiguity. It’s also one of the best albums of 2016.
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