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The Widow Blades
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Album: The Widow Blades
# Song Title   Time
1)    Over Tone Gulley
2)    Hybrium Sulphate
3)    Diagram, The
4)    Four and a Half Minutes Missing
5)    I Will Burn for This
6)    Horse Murders
7)    Green Butter
8)    They Like to Sleep Soft
9)    Plainsong
10)    Vessels
11)    Mounds, The
 

Album: The Widow Blades
# Song Title   Time
1)    Over Tone Gulley
2)    Hybrium Sulphate
3)    Diagram, The
4)    Four and a Half Minutes Missing
5)    I Will Burn for This
6)    Horse Murders
7)    Green Butter
8)    They Like to Sleep Soft
9)    Plainsong
10)    Vessels
11)    Mounds, The
 
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Product Details
Performer Notes
  • Recording information: Tone Gulley (2010).
  • Photographer: Oliver Farthing.
  • Enigmatic post-rock duo Reigns, aka West Country brothers Roo and Tim Farthing, have previously recorded albums in a bottomless hole found in the Somerset Downs, a submerged village flooded to make way for a new reservoir, and an abandoned house at the end of a man-made causeway. So it comes as no surprise that their fourth record, The Widow Blades, came to fruition in equally atypical circumstances. A concept album based on the true story of a woman who disappeared during a blizzard in 1978, the follow-up to 2009's The House on the Causeway was recorded at several locations the widower was said to have visited during her last fateful day, only furthering the sense of foreboding that creeps around its 11 haunting tracks. Indeed, with dulcimer-led lullaby "Vessels" the only number that would feel out of place on a Lynch-ian horror outing, it's certainly not a record to be listened to alone in the dark. The unsettling feedback-drenched "Hybrium Sulphate," the brooding alt-country of "Plainsong," and the doom-laden twanging of "Four and a Half Minutes Missing" are all relentlessly bleak affairs that perfectly capture the ominous nature of the album's background; even the more conventional melodic offerings, such as the twinkling nu-synth-ish "I Will Burn for This," the eerie folk balladry of "They Like to Sleep Soft," and the chiming sci-fi sampling electro-rock of "The Diagram" are rendered utterly menacing by Tim's chilling monotonous tones, while instrumentals "Over Tone Gulley" and "Green Butter," the former the spooky neo-classical opener and the latter a disorienting slice of ambient electronica, paint an uneasiness that many songs couldn't do with a thousand words. The sprawling time signature-shifting jazz-rock of 19-minute closer "The Mounds" drifts into the kind of self-indulgent territory the rest of the album so cleverly avoids, but it's the only real misfire on an ambitious piece of work that feels more like an immersive experience than just a collection of songs. ~ Jon O'Brien
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