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Manchester's Warm Widow present an urgent and unorthodox rock album, captured live in a matter of hours, entirely recorded on three rather shitty SM58 microphones in the grimy confines of some of Manchester and Salford's least-welcoming environments. The struggle the band found their sorry asses enveloped in to make this record is the very thing that gives Widower its character. You, too, would be keen to get the fucker nailed sharp-ish if you were working in a non-soundproofed room, above a gym full of pissed-off bodybuilders, keen to put into practice their abilities to kick the living shit out of the "noisy, talentless bastards upstairs." The trio of Lianne Steinberg (drums/totally fucked-up arm leading to a hiatus in performing for the best part of a year with the excruciatingly painful exception of this recording session), Zak Hane (bass and homeless), and Martin Greenwood (guitar/vocal/problematic approaches) offer a collection of lo-fi pop blasts that give a nod to some of the sexiest bands you've ever fawned over -- album opener "Cracker" recalls the Slates-period coldness of The Fall, Greenwood's uniquely scattershot lyrical imagery cutting its own dark path throughout the record. Elsewhere, there's the early Jesus Lizard-esque "Lost Dog." We find the Anglophile-via-U.S. pop sensibilities of Guided By Voices in there as well. Elsewhere, "Dogs In The Surgery" could have been co-written with Bob Mould during the Sugar period, and "A Million Butterfly Skulls" could have easily slipped its way onto Wire's Chairs Missing LP. Album closer "Back Of The Class" resolutely and unashamedly echoes The Fall's "Spoilt Victorian Child." There are undeniable points of reference to Warm Widow's influences throughout this album, but, like The Fall, their dark center is clearly a sound which could only be born out of circumstance in a bleak inner-city surrounding. Manchester is the culprit. Warm Widow is the band. This is the sound of a dark future scribbled by the buzz and screech of a blown-out amplifier. Meticulously mastered by Bob Weston (Shellac, Mission Of Burma) at Chicago Mastering Service.