Widowspeak share While You Wait, the second single lifted from their forthcoming sixth studio album ‘The Jacket’, to be released March 11 via Captured Tracks. The track features Mellotron plug-in flutes drifting over a hypnotic and buoyant motif, and an angular chorus that repeats the phrase “while you wait, we’ll have it done today.” The duo (Molly Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas) say, “the song itself is maybe one of the more narrative remnants from when the album might have been a true concept record; it’s sort of the opening credits scene, when the main character is going to their job and seeing the shift change of the city in the very early morning. Then in the second verse, they are leaving work and seeing nightlife start up again. Those simultaneous experiences are like cities within a city; there’s always someone ending their day as someone else’s is starting. It’s also about the day-to-day work that supports more creative pursuits, and how when that’s out of balance it can feel like you are on the outside looking in.” The While You Wait video, directed by OTIUM, features the band’s longtime touring bassist Willy Muse roller skating through the Miami landscape. You can watch the video clip for While You Wait via YouTube below. While You Wait follows the first single Everything is Simple – Watch the “Everything is Simple” video here.
‘The Jacket’ started out with loose strings of a concept, a story about a fictional band:
A chain-stitcher working in the satin district of an unnamed city, a neighborhood of storefront tailors devoted to elaborate costumery for country-western, art rock, ye-ye cover bands that populate the street’s bars after dark. The narrator joins one such outfit, “Le Tex” and feels a sense of belonging and momentum, movement beyond what was previously a stable, predictable life. A relationship with a bandmate materializes. Eventually, the group start to write originals. They generate goodwill and momentum, and venture out on the open road seeking new opportunities beyond what the satin district can offer. But the vibrational energy that got things moving is the same that shakes the whole thing apart: the relationship, and the band, disintegrate upon finally reaching their destination, the end of the road. The chain-stitcher heads back to the city, settling back into the rhythm of work, old standards and a familiar place.
The story is self-referential on purpose: it speaks to the absurdity of ego, codependency and shared visions even as it celebrates them. ‘The Jacket’ finds Widowspeak navigating these contradictions, and although its ten tracks now trace a more abstract arc than the campier initial concept, strands of that earlier narrative remain: “stitches in satin”, American cities after dark, glimpses of the open road, dark bars, and backstages where things get left behind. The resulting album is a wizened meditation on performance and past lives from a band who’ve seen their fair share, hitting their stride now over a decade in.
Written in the months before and after the release of their critically acclaimed 2020 album ‘Plum’, ‘The Jacket’ feels like a full-circle moment for the duo. Thematically, it considers broader questions about the values ascribed to one’s time and labor through the more refined lens of performance and music-making on ‘Plum’. This is due in part to the band’s recent return to New York City, the site of their own origin story, where they recorded ‘The Jacket’ at the Diamond Mine with co-producer and noted Daptone Records affiliate Homer Steinweiss. In addition to Hamilton and Thomas on guitars, the album features founding drummer Michael Stasiak, as well as J.D. Sumner on bass, and piano and keyboard contributions from Michael Hess.
Sonically, ‘The Jacket’ finds the band at their usual and best: the album breathes deeply, balancing moments of open lushness with a straightforward, Velvets-y approach. Dynamics shift seamlessly between gentle, drifting ballads and twangy jams, built up from layered guitars, dusty percussion and ambling bass lines. Elsewhere: whimsical flutes, choral textures, and basement organs. Thomas’s guitar playing is as lyrical and emotive as it’s ever been, and Hamilton’s voice: comfortable and effortless. This seamless dynamic is amplified perfectly in the mix by Chris Coady (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Beach House). The band still wears the same perennial influences on its sleeve: cornerstones like Yo La Tengo, Neil Young, Cowboy Junkies, Cat Power, and Richard and Linda Thompson. They expertly pepper in slow-core, dream-pop, pacific northwest indie, and outlaw country, resulting in a 60s-meets-90s aesthetic. But the duo also wield their own aesthetic feedback loop as a tool of its own, a way to better tell multi-layered stories in their own RIYL language. This sense of sonic nostalgia adds another layer to lyrics that reflect on old selves, invented and true.
‘The Jacket’ is a present and comfortable record, imbued with a sense of collective pause and the ease of a band at the top of their game. For all its familiar textures, it still feels entirely fresh within that canon: proudly a guitar record, a rock record, a songwriter’s record. A Widowspeak record.
‘The Jacket’ tracklist
1. While You Wait
2. Everything Is Simple
4. True Blue
5. “The Jacket”
7. The Drive
8. Slow Dance
9. Forget It