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Young Widows Old Wounds

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01. Took a Turn 02. Old Skin 03. Mr. No Harm 04. The Guitar 05. Lucky and Hardheaded 06. 21st Century Invention 07. The Heat Is Here 08. Delay Your Pressure 09. Let Him Be 10. Feelers 11. Swamped and Agitated
2008 Temporary Residence Ltd.
Our score 8

by Nick
9/3/2008

Old Wounds is the perfect example of a band hitting their stride. Young Widows, the result of the reorganization of hardcore standouts Breather Resist, delivered an accomplished debut with 2006's Settle Down City, a record showcasing the trio's newfound direction of Jesus Lizard-esque noisy rock. Fast forward two years and they've found a slightly peculiar home on Temporary Residence and, with Old Wounds as evidence, have completely dialed in their sound by achieving a precise balance between thick, driving bass lines, relentlessly strong drumming, and atypical guitar lines. But weren't all of those elements also present on Settle Down City Sure, but given the band's quick transition from Breather Resist into Young Widows, a number of grooves and song progressions still felt like they could have been present on Breather Resist's Charmer, thus preventing the new act from being addressed without mention of the members' musical past. Old Wounds is still unmistakably a product of the Young Widows camp, but the band's songwriting approach has evolved enough to where the album can stand on its own without leaning on a few of the tried and true elements that made Breather Resist such a hit. Yet that's not to say that the band has ditched their strong Jesus Lizard and Shellac influences with this record. "Old Skin" and "21st Century Invention" offer the same mix of gritty bass lines, walls of guitar noise, and atonal yells which David Yow and Co. perfected in the 90s and that Settle Down City drew upon so heavily. "Took a Turn" and "Let Him Be" succeed on a foundation of sparse, but hard-hitting drumming, complemented again by superb, driving bass lines and heard best in the spacious ending of the latter. But there's also a touch of odd melodicism that makes a few appearances throughout the duration of Old Wounds, surfacing in numerous forms ranging from the stripped down strangeness of the borderline-ballad, "The Guitar," to the warmer guitar lines and catchy vocal melodies of the slightly subdued "The Heat Is Here." Settle Down City may have been a quality release that guided a lot of Breather Resist fans to Young Widows, but Old Wounds refuses to rely upon any of the old act's tricks, and the result is a record so focused, well-executed, and downright enjoyable that it will undoubtedly show up on a great number of listeners' Best of '08 lists. But praise for Old Wounds would not be complete without addressing the album's fantastic recording and production job. Nick Theineman continues to make bassists across the nation drool with some of the best rock/hardcore bass tone since Cave In's Caleb Scofield. In addition, the record's eleven tracks feature a mixture of both studio and live recordings (taken from performances at venues like The Middle East of Boston and The Subterranean of Chicago), with no change in recording quality. In fact, if it weren't for a few audible crowd reactions interspersed throughout the disc, it would be nearly impossible to differentiate the live recordings from those laid down with Kurt Ballou at Godcity. When you're as musically capable and tight as Young Widows, your live recordings simply overshadow the deliberate studio efforts of many other bands. Bottom Line: Settle Down City was a great debut for Young Widows, but with their sophomore full-length, Old Wounds, the trio has really nailed their brand of noise rock by taking a small step away from a lot of already proven Breather Resist musical elements. The result is a record blending strangely melodic songwriting with the expected dose of abrasive noise rock. And it's all captured with recordings from both live and studio settings. Any fan of intelligent and heavy rock 'n roll needs this. No question about it.

20 comments

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monkey spunk_ 9/3/2008 8:00:36 PM

pirst fost


johnwesleyharding_ 9/3/2008 8:17:11 PM

I agree with this review; one of my favorite bass tones of all time!


lounge_ 9/3/2008 8:43:59 PM

decent enough cd


johnfuckingdenver_ 9/3/2008 8:44:47 PM

soooooo f*cking good.


Hammy_ 9/3/2008 11:27:58 PM

good job chap


burntoutshellofaworkingma_ 9/3/2008 11:43:46 PM

such an amazing record saw them play a few songs from this about this time last year in louisville. seriously blew my mind.


Rob_ 9/4/2008 7:58:01 AM

Excellent review, fantabulous record.


colorbrown_ 9/4/2008 10:59:05 AM

I dig this shit, Breather Resist was one of my favorite bands. Yound Widows is a good follow up to a stellar band, love them sound.


smokeoutloud_ 9/4/2008 11:18:33 AM

liked breather - like widows too


anonymous 9/4/2008 11:44:12 AM

atypical atonal


tiger_ 9/4/2008 3:55:03 PM

good review, "took a turn" is great, nice shellac rearogy, couldnt agree more.


balls._ 9/4/2008 4:32:48 PM

good record... but they're still just trying to be 20 years older than they are. Isn't that the thing to do? Get stoned and bump vinyls from the 90's?


let_it_go_ 9/4/2008 5:37:22 PM

the only rock band that nick knows and can use in reference is jesus lizard. why is he still allowed to review albums. terrible. absolutely terrible


anonymous 9/5/2008 10:22:42 AM

nick is sexy


behran_ 9/5/2008 12:07:56 PM

well...this is jesus lizard worship. So using Jesus Lizard in the review is pretty rational.


matt_ 9/5/2008 5:24:40 PM

such a good album.


aidsmuppet_ 9/6/2008 3:19:13 AM

good record... but they're still just trying to be 20 years older than they are. Isn't that the thing to do? Get stoned and bump vinyls from the 90's? posted by balls. () on 9/4/2008 4:32:48 PM lol. so they should listen to awful current bands?


anonymous 9/10/2008 12:12:37 PM

I stopped reading after these 4 words: hardcore standouts Breather Resist.


lolage_ 9/10/2008 2:25:05 PM

the only rock band that nick knows and can use in reference is jesus lizard. why is he still allowed to review albums. terrible. absolutely terrible posted by let_it_go -------- Looks like we still have some butthurt BTBAM/DEP fanboys kicking around. Heh.


Louisville Sucks_ 9/11/2008 10:32:42 PM

f*ck this band and Louisville.