When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary to break free of the carpet tiles and drop tile ceilings shrouding one’s existence in artificial light and mediocre coffee. We must take it upon ourselves to reach through the void and grab hold of a sound that is off the beaten path with guitar licks you can instantly get behind and a familiar sound. In the name of Heaven’s Jail, we have Widow’s Work.
It is quite easy to get so comfortable with a band that you eagerly await each release, you devoutly listen to each album, even hum their tunes when they’re not around, but ultimately you’re stumped with how to explain exactly what it is you love about them. Heaven’s Jail is that band. I could easily sit here and explain how Widow’s Work, in all ten tracks, is a glorious semi-dark hole-in-the-wall rock record full of tunes laced with bourbon and dimly lit, borderline, art tendencies, but that lends itself to a rather peculiar image.
The latest installment from the New York contrast rock Heaven’s Jail is like becoming conscious of, and focusing on, those dark quandaries we all face, yet never vocalize. Considering the driving tracks such as “Cleopatra,” imbued with a romantic story with underlying punk delivery, “Cannibal Zero,” taking an abrupt left into snarling dances built on upbeat rhythms, and “Dead Band Rocking” (hopefully not an omen), lingering on cynicisms reflective critiques as they pour out an anthem, there is certainly edge to Heaven’s Jail’s latest. But to each bite there is a mellow point. “Dance For Me,” in its lonely ballet, draws a captivating almost sad ballad. The beautiful “Paris Texas/Paris France” shines through the album as a beautiful beacon lingering on the in-betweens and memories. Then there is the haunting “Hangman Jack” in its stoic presence, delivering a sobering five-minutes to the record.
As difficult as it may be to define Heaven’s Jail, it is equally challenging to define the idea of underground music. However, if I were tasked to present such an argument to the underground music sound, I would look no further than Widow’s Work. I would warn those ready to push this record deep down, don’t shut this in the basement, let it flourish in a revolution. Let the sobering, sometimes somber, sounds of this record wash over you and embrace its honesty and originality. We’d only be so lucky if bands like Heaven’s Jail were the majority and records like Widow’s Work on the forefront.
Greg is a co-founder and regular contributor to Nanobot Rock.