A horrible hack

Young Widows

Old Wounds

Year Released: 2008
Format: CD
Label: Temporary Residence
 
Reviewed by Nick Sharp on Nov 25, 2008

In the spirit of this record, the following review with be succinct, pointed, competent and dull:

‘Old Wounds’ has been released by Temporary Residence. Two of the members, Nick Thieneman and Evan Patterson, were respectively the bassist and guitarist in Breather-Resist – and have here landed a selection of songs that meld the fluid, saturated, bass-lead Hooverisms of their previous act with jagged edges and howled vocals from the quintessentially 90s school of pissy indie-rock.

‘Old Wounds’ was recorded by Kurt Ballou - him of Converge/the-recording-of-many fame. The takes have been culled from numerous sessions and live gigs. The band and engineer both have toiled to create a well-defined, punchy, lithe sound.

My initial response was negative: the cover-art reconciles not one jot with any of the musical content, and fails to look good aside from that. Beyond that, the delivery of the band/title text - “Old Wounds by Young Widows” – is somewhat galling and rather incongruous given the relatively blank aesthetic the whole-package-and-music-therein has going on.

Everything in isolation sounds fine: the guitars have a satisfying sturm-und-drang, each component in the power-trio is lovingly integrated.

Third song, ‘The Guitar’, sounds curiously like a particularly relaxed Page Hamilton fronting a Duane Eddy-band reworking of Shellac’s ‘Terraform’, minus the tension. This is the track that best highlights the weaker aspects of this record: flat delivery, no risks taken.

Held up against the canon of aggro indie-rock, this lacks the anatomical nightmate logic of Dazzling Killmen, the crooked, urgently earnest intelligence of Uzeda, or the sulky ire of peak Unwound. That said, chops are abounding, and it’s worth at least a half-listen on the basis that it sounds lovely.

The songs never collapse, everything remains rigid and regimented, and there is no violence, fucking, self-loathing or anything else worth engaging with - ‘Old Wounds’ tells you that it values your friendship and continued patronage when it should be throwing your children’s heads into the ivy and watering them with piss.

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