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First Listen: Widowspeak, 'Almanac'

NPR icon by Stephen Thompson
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Widowspeak is a fount of familiar sounds, from early-'90s shoegazer rock to twangily portentous Western soundtracks to the languidly soft pop of Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval. But the Brooklyn-based duo of Molly Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas fuses them all into a hazy swirl and gives them a kick of buzzy energy — and, in the process, gives the music a dreamy pop sound of its own.

The pair's second album — Almanac, out Jan. 22 — takes the spare, droning simplicity of Widowspeak's self-titled debut and fleshes it out, thickening it with added layers of guitars and organs. But Almanac isn't just a bundle of blearily impeccable atmospherics; the closer you listen, the more it snaps into a focus as a richly textured portrait of aching melancholy and momentous change.

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