Brooklyn band Widowspeak return with a gentle and poignant new single ‘Breadwinner’, their first new material since their fourth album ‘Expect the Best’ in 2017. It’s been quite a wait but it seems like the current crisis was something of a catalyst for the band to put this song out. As singer Molly Hamilton explains:
I have to recognize all that we took for granted when I wrote this song a few years ago, or even when we were recording it last winter. There was the option to imagine a new reality for yourself, the choice to quit and start over, the possibility to support your loved ones. Obviously, there are lyrics within this song that feel so strangely on-the-nose right now (even the part about bread), and perhaps their meaning has changed since everything is different. Now feels like the only time we could possibly let this song into the world, when everyone is trying to figure out life beyond the way we earn a living, and how we’ll earn anything going forward. So, without wanting to capitalize on the heavy realities we’re all facing, we hope it brings some comfort or at least entertainment to people at home.
The video for the song was recorded by the band at home. Widowspeak’s sound is the result of the chemistry between singer-songwriter Molly Hamilton and guitarist Robert Earl Thomas. Although the band formed in Brooklyn in 2010, they hail from Tacoma, Washington and Chicago, Illinois and have released four critically acclaimed full-length albums and an EP.
This song is about shared burdens in life and love, and hoping that there’s something transcendent, honest in whatever it is to work. It was recorded and co-produced with Sam Evian (Cass McCombs, Kazu Makino, Anna Burch) and mixed by Ali Chant (Aldous Harding, Perfume Genius, PJ Harvey).
The song was inspired by the cover of a zine by Ian Vens, which sat on display in their home for years. It read, “OH PLEASE BABY JUST QUIT OK IF ANYTHING COMES ALONG PLEASE PROMISE ME YOULL QUIT THAT JOB.” Hamilton felt there was a lot of truth in it, in her own experiences with dead-end work that felt unfulfilling, the economic instability that goes hand-in-hand with choosing to “follow one’s dreams.”
If you already know about Widowspeak then you’ll be familiar with the gentle thoughtfulness that permeates their music and the obvious connection between Polly Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas that soaks each tune. ‘Breadwinner’ is no exception.