Although this band’s fourth release is credited as being an “original motion picture soundtrack,” it is structured straightforwardly and can be enjoyed track after track despite the presence of a vague, dreamlike narrative catching up with the listener at every turn. Accompanied by a short, silent animated film, it is White Widow’s music that consists of a focus of this project and you will need nothing else but this brief LP to enjoy the flavor of a noir-ish love affair in all its gloom and glory.
While opening “Tunnel Vision” might suggest otherwise, A Psychological Thriller does not rely on a bare instrumentation. Instead, the album is a collection of brief ballads that trait a fine line between gothic rock and catchy pop tunes and while doing so attempts to preserve the conceptual identity and help illustrate the cinematic images that, as it turns out in due course, you might not actually care about. Despite the connection with the tenth muse that this album so obviously tries to exploit, it never really comes together under the soundtrack banner. While thematically consistent, the songs never actually gel together into a one fully realized whole. In no way does this detract from attractive aesthetic of heart-strumming pop and lively guitar arrangements that lend White Widow a surplus of energy, but one might be suspicious whether A Psychological Thriller was always meant to fulfill its narrative purpose. As entirely separate musical entities, all tracks work wonderfully.
“Trust Myself” and “Wandering Eye” are atmospheric and, especially the latter, achieve a surprisingly emotional resonance that somehow manages to be escalated further on the magnificent “Serial Love Affair,” which adds an unexpected Palmas-eqsue element in its chorus. A sense of déjà vu is palpable and pervasive on A Psychological Thriller, but one doubtfully would be able to precisely pinpoint its source. The vocals are evocative of not one but several contemporary indie vocalists as if Carla Patullo – the talent behind White Widow – was at once channeling the dangerous shifting tone of Debbie Harry and the utter melancholy of Regina Spektor. She might not excel nor match either of those personalities, but together with a thoughtful and rich array of acoustic instruments creates an evocative and absorbing album.
Never unnecessarily moody, the music never forcibly overwhelms the positive energy of most of the tracks, which might be somehow suggested by the theme of the toxic, dangerous love that runs throughout. Everything on White Widow’s latest might be subjected to a higher concept but is successful for entirely different reasons. Memorable and easy on the ears, A Psychological Thriller is everything that an album christened with this title shouldn’t be – energizing and invigorating, a femme fatale of undeniable charm that you will want to return to.
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Flicker Noise Productions
Damian Glowinkowski (DamienG)