Widowspeak fuses lightness and darkness like few others: The group's sound may conjure the effervescence of dream-pop, but a gloomy, anxious undercurrent anticipates nightmares at any given moment. On each successive album, bandleader Molly Hamilton adds a few more layers to an atmospheric, slow-burning sound that conjures deep melancholy, even as it indulges in the lilting majesty of shoegazing rock. Widowspeak's members describe at least one element of their approach as "cowboy grunge," and that's strangely apt.
"Dog," the first single from the band's new third album, Expect The Best, captures Widowspeak's distinct mix perfectly, while speaking to larger internal conflicts. In an email to NPR Music, Hamilton writes that the song is "about the compulsion to move on from things and places, even people, when you're not necessarily ready to. Sometimes, I get caught up in 'the grass is always greener' mentalities, or cling to an idea that 'I'd be happy if...' and then make a drastic change. Then, inevitably, I feel restless a few months later and it starts again.
"It also addresses how I look at social media," she adds. "I think it will help me feel connected to people I used to see more, but I end up feeling lonelier, like I'm missing out on a sense of contentedness that comes with staying put or at least committing to a particular direction. So it's not literally about my dog so much as the way a dog might think about its home — not overthinking the next move, geographic or mental."
Expect The Best comes out August 25 via Captured Tracks.