“The stone that’s buried: what the fruit is for.”
So goes the title track from Plum, Widowspeak’s forthcoming fifth album. The line serves as an apt analogy for the record itself: the self-aware sweetness that the band employs to deliver the seed of a harder, sharper idea. Singer Molly Hamilton coats wry observations in a voice as honeyed as the sun-ripened fruit, and Widowspeak have always made a bitter pill much easier to swallow. From its opening strum, there’s a palpable warmth and familiarity to the music even as it hints at darker truths below the surface, questions about inherent worth. What value and meaning do we assign ourselves, our time, and how do we spend it?
Plum is an album that navigates the spaces between the lesser emotions of modern life. From the creeping dread that “things are getting worse” to the resigned but sanguine recognition that “no one is old, nothing is young,” Hamilton’s lyrics speak to the unique turmoil of anyone who creates as their work, who must somehow survive off such “fruits of their labor.” With its release, Widowspeak have brought something into the world that seems to know its own worth, even as it wonders aloud about what is to come. Like the wabi-sabi tenant that lead to the song that became the album, all things are devolving to, or evolving from, nothingness.
“You’re a peach and I’m a plum.”