Past Time (Kill Rock Stars)
Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., Sept. 10, 2010
Grass WidowPast Time (Kill Rock Stars)
There's nostalgia for the Xeroxed and stapled not-so-distant past on Grass Widow's Kill Rock Stars debut. Fortunately, the San Francisco female trio's circumvention of gender-based comparisons comes in deconstruction, making shaky tempos and tiered harmonies work as a group. In less than 30 minutes, guitarist Raven Mahon, bassist Hannah Lew, and drummer Lillian Maring stuff their instrumentation into a communal pocket, as on Past Time openers "Uncertain Memory" and "Shadow." Dynamic shifts in "11 of Diamonds" are the band's trademark, but shared harmonics are often more interesting than the music, and sometimes they're racing with them, as on "Give Me Shapes," which finds the band members in separate keys but impeccably in sync. On "Fried Egg," the ladies let loose on some distortion, though with restraint. Past Time is markedly more graceful than Grass Widow's self-titled LP – just wait for those voices to wrap around your brainstem.