Posted on June 23rd, 2011 (11:00 am) by Bradley Hartsell

The Louisville, Kentucky band Young Widows are really talented. They churn out sludgey riffs and face-pounding percussion, with thudding bass lines. Their knowledge and ideas of post-hardcore rate excellently, even if their song-craft and artistic gamesmanship leaves quite a bit to be desired. Their square-wheeled brutality remind me of Jesus Lizard, and their vocal and sludgey sensibilities of Alice in Chains. Though melodically, they’re nowhere near Layne Staley/Jerry Cantrell’s fascinating ability to turn brooding darkness into full-fledged hooks, and Jesus Lizard was far more polished and invested in putting black-eyes on their listener.

Young Widows can build tension like a carpenter builds coffee tables. With long running times and continual musical tension, you’re kind of sitting there wondering when the payoff is coming. Most of the time, it doesn’t. When it does, it feels weak. Tension isn’t an inherently pleasant thing; being tense during forty-seven minutes of an album doesn't feel particularly good. The flipside to that is that yes, Young Widows will make you feel something, which is always better than ambivalence. That’s making lemons out of lemonade, friends.

“Right in the End” is the curveball here and, as these things go sometimes, is the best song on the album, even if it’s not indicative of the band’s sound. It’s sort of a grassroots start-stopper, with a brooding, sinisterly whimsical melody. It’s the first time I feel like Young Widows aren’t doing an impression of somebody else or being a talented caricature. Everything else in the album, like “Miss Tambourine Wrist”, is sharp in the areas it “is” and misses big in the areas it “isn’t.” There are no flooding releases making all that tension worth much of anything besides grit teeth. There are no hooks, say like Mastodon, which make you pump your damn fist. As far as tense, sing-speaking sludge without payoff goes, this is as on cue as you could hope for. But as for an engaging album, it mainly feels half baked.

Track List:

1. Young Rivers
2. Future Heart
3. In and Out of Lightness
4. Lean on the Ghost
5. The Muted Man
6. Right in the End
7. Miss Tambourine Wrist
8. White Golden Rings
9. In and Out of Youth

Young Widows: In and Out of Youth and Lightness
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

53 / 100
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