Suite 100

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**click on the picture to be taken to SOUNDCLOUD to hear an exclusive early release of this song **

"Widowmaker" is a key song for me in the development of the aesthetic that came to characterize our sophomore album. When it arrived, I had that feeling that we had leveled up a bit as a team of writers.

  At the time when we were beginning to work out new material for a second album, a method I found inspirational was to analyze certain key moments from the songs on our debut, "In The Night Kitchen", which stood out to me as particularly distinctive or definitive of our sound. I would then "reverse engineer" them, and try to create new pieces which worked in the same ways, without necessarily being so similar as to immediately bring the older songs to mind. I just wanted to create more stuff that felt like it was coming from the same source. 
   I found it fun to combine more than one of these signature usages in each song, if I could, and preferably with a twist We were going for more material that felt like "us", but also trying to push it forward as we went. "Widowmaker" is a good example, musically, of how that worked.
  I wanted another song that started with a big "BANG" right on beat one, and then dynamically dropped into a breezy, happy-ish verse, the way "Salvation Amy" did.
  I was smitten by the musical texture of the prechorus of "All The King's Men" (a Matt composition) and wondered if I could create an analogue to it. What I liked so much about it boiled down to the way the guitar melody line worked over a couple of chords. There was a common tone which was played through the chord change, whose harmonic function changed when the chord changed in a way that tickled my brain just right.
  The twist, in this case, was that I ended up with two prechoruses which worked that way, each in a different key. Rather than pick one, I just decided to use both. Each of the first two verses would lead into different key change, but with the same musical texture. Then, the third time around, you get both prechoruses back to back.
  All of this was inspired by the third element I wished to try revisiting with a twist, and that was the "harmonic labyrinth" effect found in "The Rules."
  I enjoyed how the song took you through a bunch of key changes, but smoothly enough that you didn't really notice, as a listener, that it was changing keys.
  I have a soft spot for the aesthetic of things that seem simple, but are actually have more details than you might initially notice. Gotta make those hoped-for repeated listens pay off.
  Another thing that was a bit new in this song for us is the combination of light sounding verse material with a dark chorus. This ended up inspiring the lyrical theme of a person who's afraid of the dark, night-time, and sleeping.
  I remember when the song was still just music, and Matt suggested the title "Widowmaker"... it was a definite yes for me. I didn't have to think it over... that just hit me as "Yes, that's the title."
 The song is also notable for a relatively rare lyrical contribution from Steve, in the form of "Last day's light, my sins revealed. Bathed in fright, with no appeal." I was glad those lines made it in, they pushed a little further into a "Muahahaha" horror thing than Matt or I probably would have. The song needed it.
  I always got a big charge out of performing the ending of this song when we started putting it in our live set. The vocal harmony climax on "The light" and "No stars" always felt particularly definitive of our sound to me. It always felt like "This is us. This is what we do."
J