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Sour Widows, 'Witness'

Sour Widows writes songs that match sprawl with sweetness, its soothing vocal harmonies and interlaced guitar riffs often building to dramatic climaxes. The Bay Area trio's latest single follows this path: "Witness" starts off languid and pensive before the desperation ratchets up, its beautifully tangled guitars turning menacing. Songwriter Susanna Thomson says "Witness" is about "monumental loss," and how it can create "a very clear divide between those in your life who can understand the depth of that kind of pain and those who can't" — it's the first song the band finished since the death of Thomson's mother. "I can't show you / How to reach through / To the feeling," the band sings at the song's climax, alluding to that chasm, "It would kill you." But after this catharsis, the song reconsiders its position. After a brief pause, the tempo slows and the tension recedes. "The moments repeat / And feedback into and endlessly," the band sings, the members' voices overlapping. It sounds like the supportive presence of an understanding friend, or maybe just a cycle through a new stage of grief.

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