It's no secret that Brooklyn, NY is home to an abundance of indie rock bands trying to out-cool each other, but there are only some who really stand out amongst the ever growing crowd. Molly Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas' musical project Widowspeak
is pretty much as cool as it gets, just without all of the pretentiousness that's expected of any indie rock band. Molly and Robert began making music together in 2010 after they met while Molly was working with founding drummer Michael Stasiak, the trio hit it off and began working on creating tracks almost immediately. Soon, Widowspeak's self-titled debut album was in the works and presented to the world shortly after in 2011. Michael later parted ways with Molly and Robert, but that didn't stop them from continuing to release the best music they possibly could. Their two previous albums Almanac
(2013) and All Yours
(2015) showcased the two artists' musical chemistry in the way their sounds formed perfectly to each other, and we hear this again as Widowspeak follows their every-two-years release pattern and delivers Expect the Best
to us right in time for the weather change.
Since the album was announced, listeners have received three tracks to give them an idea of what they can be expecting from Expect the Best–
just because the title says to expect the best doesn't mean you'll actually end up with the best. The first of the tracks to be released is entitled "The Dream," which is a slow burning track with a sound so soothing you feel as though you're in the room being serenaded while a pumpkin spice candle burns slowly on an end table nearby. Tracks like "The Dream" as well as "Fly on the Wall" embody the wholesome and intriguingly soft side of Widowspeak, although the latter of the songs has the former beat by being long enough to be considered two separate tracks. Seven minute songs seem to be much more acceptable when they're as relaxing as this one is.
On tracks like "Dog," Widowspeak get deep and begin to play on your heartstrings as though they're the guitar you hear in the back of the track, but the song is still upbeat enough to get you passionately emotional as Molly repeats over and over again, "I want to stay." We get this passionate feeling again in a different form on "Warmer," a track possessing a classic sound paired with a drawn out instrumental break that pulls you in even deeper. The soft sounds on Expect the Best
continue on "Right On," sounding as though it was heavily influenced by western cowboy movies. I don't think it's possible to listen to this track in its entirety without envisioning yourself strolling through the desert on a horse as tumbleweeds go by–it's like picturing yourself in a music video when you stare out of the window during a rainstorm, only better and warmer.
One of the greatest moments on this album occurs in "Good Sport," which at first listen, doesn't sound like much. It's a short and minimalistic track carried by its instruments, but Molly's "I'm not gonna sit this one out" declaration fits perfectly with the atmosphere created. Some part of this track gives away something that everyone listening can pull from, however it's difficult to put a word to whatever that may be. On a contrasting note, Widowspeak also provides us with some upbeat tracks such as "Let Me" to get your heart racing. The track is somewhat reminiscent of The Lumineers, but with the indie acoustic touch only Widowspeak could bring to the table. This acoustic sound is lost momentarily in "When I Tried," but only to be replaced by the presence of heavy drums and packed, longer verses. It's evident here that Molly and Robert made it a true mission to develop a deep musical connection with James Jano's drumming capabilities, as well as Willy Muse's talent as a bassist. The title track of the album displays this relationship again, but this time hand in hand with more of a build up and emphasis on the drums included. The highs and lows of the sounds included on Expect the Best
make it obvious why this album serves as a perfect summer-to-autumn project. Whether you're commuting, studying, or just enjoying your last few days of freedom before summer comes to a close, Expect the Best
has the perfect track for you.
If you want to get even more acoustic to fulfill the perfect autumn aesthetic, check out our concert with Widowspeak down below.