July 1, 2009

Rocking in the Afterlife - Widows’ Bane

(Reprinted from http://www.coloradomusicbuzz.com/)

Some music has the ability to transport you to another time and place, cliché as that may sound. DeVotchKa turns you into a hard-working, Eastern European peasant. Paper Bird has you dancing a 30s-era jig like you’ve done it all your life. And Widows’ Bane sends you partying like it’s 1699 aboard a pirate ship (albeit, one filled with dead pirates).

Accompanied by a banjo, performed with a stereotypical pirate accent, and staying true to pirate speak, “Sick To Me Gullet,” sounds like it was transported right out of “Treasure Island.” However, the pirate shtick – no matter how fun it may be – would get tiresome very quickly if that were the extent of the band’s range.

Instead, Widows’ Bane exhibits a wide variety of musical prowess within the extremely small genre of Gothic Folk. Some songs, like “Wormwood in C Minor,” are reminiscent of the old-world style DeVotchKa has popularized; many others are in a league of their own, too fanciful to be a Folk ballad, but too humble to be anything more.

As if their rich musical arrangements weren’t enough, they’ve created a presence all their own by dressing as if attending their own funeral, telling stories of pirate battles (as well as each band members’ life and death), and even using a coffin-shaped stand-up bass. The singer, Mortimer Leech, maintains a gruff, Tom Waits-esque voice, fully incorporating melancholy emotions into his words. The rest of the band is superb with their accompaniment of a banjo, guitars, an accordion, a cello, and more.

I often say (exhaustively to others, I’m sure), the more band members you have, the more impressive you better be. And with upwards of seven members, Widows’ Bane is much more impressive than I could have expected.


No comments: