[sic] Magazine

Warm Widow – Widower

Despite some lukewarm claims to the contrary, Manchester still lives under the rain cloud of Oasis – see the baffling popular efforts of The Courteeners for proof. However, and with varied results, there are those that do things a little differently.

For example, Delphic tried tackling New Order but the results were wishy-washy. Hurts nailed the glitz of the 80s, but forgot to bring any tunes with them. D/R/U/G/S are currently mining an interesting line of “thugged” trance. The jittery synth-punk of Dutch Uncles passes just enough muster to elevate them into contenders, whereas WU LYF , despite their self-imposed hiatus, have urban mysticism more or less in the bag. Enter Warm Widow .

You know those kids that proclaim never to have liked the brothers Gallagher, even on Definitely Maybe? These are those kids. Embracing the noise of Fugazi and the atonal punk poetry of local heroes The Fall , Martin Greenwood and company reputedly submitted their LP demo to White Box for a clean before release, only for the label honchos to release it in its raw state.

And it was a wise move, for the album’s blistering static toasts the overall fidelity of Widower impressively, and its strong running order (the album closes with two if its most incendiary moments) is duly very welcome. Lurching from sludgy rock passages comes Greenwood’s clenched vocal, from behind Lianne Steinberg ‘s tinny drumming strong melodies. Completing the set up, Zak Hane ‘s bass has the expected, precise urgency of no-budget recording, and there’s an overall restraint to the band’s clatter. They know when to hold back and when to crunch forward – and most tracks do both, sometimes at the same time.

The rough-edged guitar on “Lost Dog” chimes out of its sludgy, fuzzy rock bed as Hane’s bass work is as loose and dirty as one could hope for. The title track is another mid-paced highlight with frayed edges and white noise passages again given clarity by the bass. Neat cuts to vocal inject strong, dark melody throughout, each track coming underpinned by Warsaw -era Peter Hook bass turns – Greenwood’s vocal is happily taken from elsewhere.

The future’s always grey in Manchester, but with Warm Widow on the horizon there’s at least hope of the clouds lifting.

Advised downloads : “Lost Dog” and “Widower”.

~Widower is out now on White Box .~