punk rock par excellence: Internal Logic, out next week on HLR, balances the
sharp and the smooth amid delightful vocal harmonies.
By Jennifer Kelly
Grass Widow’s third album balances the sharp and the smooth,
easing jittery obliqueness with the soft solace of vocal harmonies. Last
summer’s single, “Milo Minute” runs anxious Delta Five bass vamps (that’s
Hannah Lew) into sawtoothed guitar lines
(Raven Mahon) and punchy, half-slanted drum beats (Lillian Maring). It would be
classic late-1980s post punk (the band has, after all, opened for the
Raincoats) except for the singing,
all three Grass Widows together, voices twining and soaring in well-manicured
harmonies. Check the new issue of BLURT (Spiritualized on the cover) for an
interview with the band, incidentally.
Female-fronted punk rock with really good vocals is, lately,
it’s own genre – witness Reading (now Bleeding) Rainbow, Dum Dum Girls and Veronica Falls – but Grass Widow is one of the
best at this game, their songs precise but unraveling at the seams, carefully
plotted but offhandedly delivered. A
girls’ choir in torn fishnet tights, Grass Widow bashes and pops through sci-fi
spooky “Goldilocks Zone,” razor-guitared “Hanging Around,” and wonderful “Spock on Muni,” where surf-crazed licks give
way to the giddiest kinds of la’s and ah’s. “Light in the Attic” demonstrates
Raven Mahon’s prowess at Spanish-style guitar, a skill not much exercised in
this jangly, jittery set of songs. Internal
Logic pits fractious churn and friction against head-spinning harmonies,
and here’s the surprise, everybody wins.