Widdershins - Good Songs, 1987-1989

I was listening to the Widdershins hoping to get into another 80's band. I tried to enjoy the unique sound of Juliet Ward's voice. I tried to listen to the sound that is Widdershins, yet I was soon swayed towards disappointment. My reason is this: her voice is extremely hard to listen to! The on-going whine made it hard to concentrate, distracting me from the actual song.


For a successful, yet short lived 80's band I expected much more. Having read rave reviews I was hoping to here something louder and exciting yet came to the conclusion that they're completely overrated. Their sound reflects the growing Indie movement of the time and the acoustic sound is refreshing considering the abundance of synthesised pop from the 80's era. They of course do have their moments like any other band but I found that their pitfalls far outweigh the few songs that come through.


"Good Songs 1987 - 1989" is a collection of all the released tracks from 80's Australian band, Widdershins. All songs previously released on vinyl have now found a collective home in form of a shiny new ‘best of' CD. Including all the released tracks from the "Ascension" album, "Bottles Man Wife" EP and 2 of their 7" singles. Though this may sound exciting, Widdershins lack the appeal of bands with similar line-ups and sound like the Pixies or The Smiths. The fans surely won't be disappointed but for everyone else, it's not worth it.


Widdershins lack the fun element that most 80's bands had and have a sound similar to that of a garage band. Juliet Ward's voice can be irritating, making most songs hard to listen to and enjoy, despite the fact that their lyrics are both clever and thoughtful. on that note (pardon the pun) songs like "Waterfall" and "Levitate" really shine as they both include vocals provided by Greg Appel (lead guitar, vocals). These songs definitely stand out, being the only ones not sung by Ward. I know many praise her unique voice, and that it certainly is, but it's not a pleasant unique. In an era where our ears are treated to the perfected sounds of our favourite bands, Julie's organic voice is hard to listen to. With that, their thought provoking lyrics are often lost and emotion is lacking.


One quirk of this album is the notes on the CD sleeve. Written by Greg Appel he talks of how some songs were inspired and his own opinion of his work. Though short it's an interesting insight to how some of the songs came along. If you're a fan of Widdershins you'll definitely enjoy this, no matter how strange Julie Ward's voice. If you've never heard of the, I suggest you keep it that way.

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