In the six-song self-titled EP from Sour Widows, the band’s growth is felt from one song to the next. Supposing the goal of every band or artist is to achieve a connection, an emotional reaction with a listener, then Sour Widows have done more than what is expected from them. To describe their sound as indie rock with hints of puck rock is fair, but for this writer, perhaps it’s more accurate to describe it has intimate rock. Sour Widows cultivate an immersed sound with little embellishments.
The idea that these songs are sour – or expressing anger might be accurate. The songs have an edge to them in a way that feels more like the emotional wreckage is being strewn from the guitar reverb and the brash percussion. The group employs a double-vocal approach, creating a melodic layer that is astonishing beautiful. The sharp contrast to these vocal ranges to the punishing guitar can be jarring.
In “Tommy” the lyrics “I’m going to go for a ride and let the time tear me up completely” gives this image of a ride around town, or to just get away from it all completely. That feeling, that horrible feeling in one’s stomach of insecurity or depression is present in the murky guitar riffs.
Spirits do pickup – in the very fun track, “Pilot Light” the lyrics “wonder how the lights get through, wonder how the lights gets through – oh – oh, it’s coming from you.” The warmness of the vocals and the upbeat rhythm give this tune a bit more happiness than melancholy.
“Whole Lotta Nothing” is full of wispy vocals and a daunting bassline. “I Wanna Be Like Johnny” features one of the coolest drum/percussion arrangements in quite some time – just solid drum work in this song.
The final track on the EP, “Low Doser” has an enduring bassline and music bed. The guitar is the star and the song may feel like it’s dripping out of a faucet, the but the listener is awash in the emotion and the heaviness of life. Depending on one’s mood, this isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing. One can tell just by the title this song is going to be a low-grade energy. That’s the point of music – to feel something, right?
Bands like Sour Widows let the music do the talking and leave the listener up to their own devices. As artists Sour Widows have created a substantially interesting collection of stories and sounds that give listener joy through pain and sorrow. After a few listens, these songs grab hold and take you with them into the current. The robust vocals are appreciated, as are the exceptional rhythm and guitar tones.
Sour Widows is comprised of Maia Sinaiko (guitar and vocals), Susanna Thompson (guitar and vocals) Max Edelman (drums) and Timmy Stabler (bass guitar). The band is based in Oakland, California. According to their official biography, the recording process for this debut EP took two years. That elbow grease paid off – Sour Widows are a formidable force in the indie rock music scene.