Molly Hamilton and her songwriting partner Robert Earl Thomas of Widowspeak spent a lot of time on the road after releasing the critically acclaimed Almanac earlier this year. “We were stuck in a car a lot,” Hamilton says. “I was mostly writing down lyrics and ideas for new things, just to get them out of my system.”
“A couple songs distinguished themselves as being a collective idea,” Hamilton continues. “These songs all have the same mood.” Since the material seemed to complement itself, Hamilton says the Brooklyn-based duo decided to release The Swamps, a six-song EP out Oct. 29 on the Captured Tracks label. “I really like the idea of short complete thoughts,” she says.
Almanac garnered Widowspeak comparisons to Fleetwood Mac, something Hamilton doesn’t entirely agree with. “We were definitely inspired by certain parts of Fleetwood Mac,” she says, insisting she and Thomas were more influenced by other rock ‘n’ pop of the ’60s and ’70s. “We were listening to a lot of Tom Petty and Neil Young.”
The Swamps builds on Almanac’s hazy, psychedelic, indie-folk influences, while adding a layer of Southern, snake-bitten voodoo to the mix. Lead single “True Believer” is practically an aural exercise in evoking the image of a swamp. On top of it all, the sultry interplay of Hamilton’s voice and Thomas’ melodic guitar work evokes classic female-male songwriting partnerships like Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood. “We love those records,” Hamilton says. “I’m 100 percent pro-melody,” Thomas adds. “I like guitar ‘parts’ better than guitar ‘solos.’”
Widowspeak plays with Portland-based, dream-pop duo Pure Bathing Culture 8 pm Monday, Oct. 21, at Cozmic; $8.