crackles open with the sound of rain falling through trees. A distant twinkling autoharp approaches before the first track "Perennials" greets us like a new spring. The album concludes twelve songs later, coyotes yipping and howling as two feet crunch away on fallen twigs. Almanac
is a record inspired by seasonal changes and crafted from folk-rock fabric, but the mysticism of Molly Hamilton's lyrics and Robert Earl Thomas' guitar riffs make their second album a welcome camp-out.
Compared to 2011's Widowspeak
is a more realized vision that results in a rounder listen. The band's Western roots are further exposed through a more organic use of twang and howl. Thomas' guitar can ride in on the wind sounding both hallowed ("Ballad of the Golden Hour") and haunted ("Locusts"). Where Widowspeak
was drifting and mopey, Almanac
is wandering and psychedelic.
is reminiscent of no band or genre in particular, but seems to recall the sounds and imagery of California in the late 60s and early 70s. It sounds like a smokey dream of Western America. The songs take you in and out of fog, up mountains of mossy rock, down to sunny rivers and dark valleys, and as the record settles down and the doggies retire, Widowspeak leaves you spooked, but unconcerned.
Watch the "Locusts" music video:
is out now via Captured Tracks