Release Date: May 13, 2014
Record label: Temporary Residence
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Post-Hardcore, Noise-Rock
Delving further into the murky depths the band started exploring on 2011's In and Out of Youth & Lightness, Young Widows continue to refine their gloomy noise rock sound on their fourth album, Easy Pain. Languid and harsh, the album's nocturnal sound feels like the perfect fusion of Nick Cave's ominous drawl and the Jesus Lizard's simmering contempt. Like an inevitable confrontation, the songs here slowly and patiently come to a head, filling the album's cavernous expanses with a sense of impending doom as they lumber through the darkness.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. For the past eight years, this Kentucky noise-rock band have forged a career path out of being as abrasive as possible. Their last outing, 2011's In and Out of Youth and Lightness, was a dark and foreboding (and sometimes forbidding) record that got a lot of mileage out of the kind of bleakness you'd expect a band with the name Young Widows to be experts in.
It's always a pleasure to get a quintessential representation of any band four full-lengths in—something that deftly mixes the strengths of each plateau in their growing body of work, not resting on any laurels (real or imagined) but synergistically fusing it all into a (Molotov) cocktail of bad-assery. Such is Easy Pain. .
Young Widows were born into a web of foregone antecedents and genre tags. When the Kentucky trio emerged in 2006, they were, as their name suggested, survivors of a dead act, the twisting-and-scraping, post-hardcore band Breather Resist. That previous group’s musical skeleton stuck with Young Widows, especially for their hurdling tantrum of a debut, Settle Down City.
There’s a well-worn piece of pop-psychology that would have us believe that while women are more likely to display their emotions, men tend to replace emotional behaviour with aggression. It’s on this basis that one would classify a band like Young Widows as masculine music: heavily downtuned guitars distorted way beyond the point where you hear the pluck of a string, driving percussion produced to sound more like objects being kicked than a drum kit. The difference is they slow their songs right down, sometimes to a plodding 60bpm (Bird Feeder), without relinquishing the propulsion of each crushing downstrum.
Young Widows deal in heavy rock. The Kentucky trio, now on their fourth album after forming in the wake of their post-hardcore band Breather Resist, rely on power, anguish and volume. ‘Easy Pain’ is loaded with all three. The flickering intro on opener ‘Godman’ is a gateway to the kind of humungous riff that greasy Year 10s in Deftones hoodies headbanged to on school buses in 2001.
The fourth album from Louisville, Kentucky, noise-rock trio Young Widows is a suffocating aural submission hold that refuses to let up on your carotid artery. Easy Pain is all tension and menace, laden with reverb, distortion and migraine-inducing beats that deliver inspired reinventions of everything fans of metal-gaze (“Doomed Moon,” “Gift Of Failure”), noise rock (“Bird Feeder” sounds like Coliseum, ZZ Top and Sonic Youth in a three-way knife fight) and post-punk (“Kerosene Girl” is what Interpol might’ve sounded like after ingesting near-lethal doses of tequila and trucker’s speed) hold dear. Guitarist Evan Patterson’s vocals are so buried in the mix, they add texture instead of narrative, offering heady atmospheres and cardio-thumping fear, in all its penetrating and ugly glory.
When Young Widows debuted in 2006 with Settle Down City, they awoke a sleeping giant that was the Louisville, Kentucky post-hardcore movement–a scene that spawned such groundbreaking underground acts of the 1990s as Slint and Squirrel Bait. And with each successive full-length, they take in the sound of their city’s sub terrain through a wormhole of dark, gothic blues. But with Easy Pain, the trio go full fang on this fourth LP, harkening back to the most extreme aspects of Louisville loudness.
Young Widows — Easy Pain (Temporary Residence)I got into an argument at a bar several years ago with a casual acquaintance with whom I used to bicker about music back in our days at our university’s college radio station. We were bickering over which Young Widows was better. He argued it was the freshly released sophomore record Old Wounds, on which he thought the Louisville noise-rock band had sharpened its nu-pigfuck bludgeon to a fine point.