Sunday 28 April 2013

The Black Widows - Love & Lust

Album review by

Stoke may not be the first place you'd look to for some good, stomping rock tracks, but that hasn't stopped The Black Widows from releasing an album of them. Heavily influenced by the sounds of country, Americana, blues and rock 'n' roll, 'Love & Lust' is something of a mixed bag. When it's good it's very good, but when it's not that good it's reasonably inessential. Don't let that deter you though, as this quartet do have some good tunes, apparently written over a four-year period and mostly pertaining to that age-old songwriter's source of inspiration: heartbreak.

Opener 'Post Golden Gate Blues' (like we said, they're heavily influenced by all things American) is the good, stomping, bluesy rock that you'd expect and is a fine tune. On second track 'Arkansas Sound' we get the first indication that 'Love & Lust' might be a hit and miss affair. Its tales of drowning your sorrows with whiskey seem a little forced and fake; it doesn't quite feel right. They redeem themselves instantly on slowie 'Find A Little Soul' which is given a wonderful boost by the gospel-influenced backing vocals. It's difficult to work out exactly who or what this band and album are, as they skip between so many different sounds and ideas, but then four years is a long time, so perhaps a cohesive story is a bit much to expect.

This could be summed up on 'Lust', a track that's not bad, but you will have heard others do the same thing to a higher standard. That said, the end section is pretty darn good. This is much the same for the rest of the album. As heartfelt as it is, 'I'd Give You My Heart' doesn't have the emotional power it should until the orchestration joins in; 'What Might Have Been' isn't an essential track and the same goes for 'The Light'. There are more tracks of interest though. 'Small Town Queen' works well despite more US cliches about girls called Jolene and so on; the upbeat 'Move Right Along' is a decent alt-country track and closer 'Back Home' is also a good tune. The Black Widows have a reasonably good album here that would be improved with the discarding of a couple of songs that don't quite work, and a few less borrowed ideas; it's worth a look though.

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