By Tara Schoenborn

Western indie band Windowspeak’s sophomore effort is a somewhat downbeat mix of eerie psychedelia and folk.

American soft western rock ‘n roll indie band Widowspeak prepares for the end of the world — yep, another one — with the Jan. 22 debut of its sophomore album, Almanac. While the band still retains some of its debut album’s western-tinged guitar and lead singer Molly Hamilton’s breathy vocals, Almanac offers something much more dynamic and a bit darker. Instead of simple earthy rhythms with natural sounds in the background, such as in one of Widowspeak’s first singles “Gun Shy,” the band experiments with denser sounds and slides into a more malevolent sound in Almanac.

For example, in “Locusts,” Hamilton’s wispy vocals remain, but almost everything else about the song is different from the group’s first album. It sounds low and eerie, not happy and upbeat like the older songs. Instead of acoustic and natural sounds, it leans toward a folk-psych vibe using an electric guitar. The actual musical composition is much more involved as well, with many steep rifts and more sinister strumming. If that isn’t enough, other songs involve different instruments entirely, such as the banjos and accordions in “Thick as Thieves.”

With a shift from soft, western indie to dark, sometimes electric and psychedelic songs, the bands captures the essence of the end of the world. Even the lyrics reflect this imminent and depressing sentiment, such as the phrases “as the crow flies” and “long in the teeth” from “Ballad of the Golden Hour.”

That being said, not all the songs on Widowspeak’s new album are creepy and melancholy. Some still retain the natural, western feeling from the band’s first album, which is seen in the crickets of Almanac’s “Minnewaska.” However, in Almanac, Widowspeak experiments with a bunch of new and completely different sounds that make it much more memorable than the first album, and will only help the band find its true sound and achieve success.