Sour Widows



Maia Sinaiko and Susanna Thomson like to joke that they are delusional about Sour Widows, the Bay Area band they started seven years ago that is just now releasing its entrancing and powerful debut LP, ‘Revival of a Friend’. In those seven years, Sinaiko and Thomson each endured losses and hardships that at times required putting bigger plans on hold; looking back, they can only laugh at these hurdles and wonder if they should have taken them as signs—to stop, to start over, to succumb to the hardship.
Absolutely not: Sour Widows has served as an essential outlet for Sinaiko, Thomson, and drummer Max Edelman, a way to process real-time woes so as to transmute them into something beautiful, useful, real, and lasting. It has been an anchor, too, keeping them lashed to reality as the world roiled around them. ‘Revival of a Friend’ is their collective testament to that process, an hour-long lesson in endurance that is years in the making. Inspired by the folk singing of their youth, the grit and grace of Joni Mitchell, the slowly spiraling dazzle of Duster, and the steady angularity and sudden snarl of Slint, ‘Revival of a Friend’ fully recognizes the arbitrary cruelty of individual existence and finds that some of the best ways beyond it are to share harmonies, a tangle of electric guitars, or a song that simply imagines hope somewhere on the other side. Methodically built over many years with longtime friend and trusted drummer Max Edelman, this is a poignant and gripping record about the pain of growing up and getting on with it.

However pervasive it is, grief is not the only takeaway on the album. Sinaiko, Thomson, and Edelman are still here, after all, in a great DIY rock band that is a gathering of best friends, having made a mighty record that encapsulates and so sublimates all this anguish. It feels especially relevant that it emerges as a work of friendship from the Bay Area, dominated in recent years not by stories of the arts but instead by technology and the inequality it has wrought there. ‘Revival of a Friend’ is rooted in personal hurts, but it feels like an invitation to band together and work through our pains as one, to share the burdens of the world until we can find a better way forward. This is not delusion; this is hope, as difficult and necessary now as ever.


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