Once upon a time in California three young musicians
(Raven Mahon/guitar; Hannah Lew/bass, Lillian Marling/drums)
sat down together and talked about forming a band. They decided
upon a name, Grass Widow (a woman wronged and abandoned by
her man) and set out into the listening world with a bunch
of ten tiny songs (each little more than three minutes long)
to seek fortune and fame. 'Past Time' may or may not secure
their dreams or the assurance of material comfort in old age but
it certainly deserves our attention while it is passing by.
This is twitchy-witchy, ephemeral stuff. All three members
of the ensemble sing and not one is better than the others.
Their vocal delivery is slight but harmonious and their songs
are fragile and delightful in a somewhat ramshackle way.
The interplay between guitar, bass and drums has an insect-like
quality. Busy and bustling and committed to the good of the hive.
'Give Me Shapes', coming in at under two minutes, exemplifies
their economic approach to sonic management. It rambles up
to the top of the hill and ambles down again with no other
purpose than to briefly admire the view. Charmingly aimless.
'Strangers Come' is another single-minded miniature. The
curiously folksy, off-kilter (almost sixties-psychedelic)
vocal arrangement comes perilously close to spinning off
the rails but Ms Lew's four-square bass line keeps the
piece anchored and averts disaster by a hair's breadth!
Final track 'Tuesday' is a jolly affair. It rattles along
at a cracking pace. What it lacks in technical prowess and
aesthetic finesse it more than makes up for with raw energy!
Grass Widow are a marginal curiosity, who, whilst not
destined for greatness, have nonetheless delivered an
album which will doubtless appeal to listeners with a
penchent for baggy woolen hats and over-long jeans whose
frayed cuffs drag below them soggily in the mud.