“Loss, Reflection, & Relationship”: Sour Widows Explore the Depths of Space in ‘Crossing Over’ EP

Sour Widows © Ginger Fierstein
Sour Widows © Ginger Fierstein
A raw, cathartic outpouring of inner turmoil, Sour Widows’ ‘Crossing Over’ EP explores the depths of grief, heartbreak, loss, and space through four stirring tracks full of vulnerability and brimming with life.
Stream: “Bathroom Stall” – Sour Widows




We hope someone might feel a moment of recognition of grief in their own lives through listening to this record, lessening the feeling of isolation that is so inherent to those times in life.

Most of us have experienced distance and separation before, but nothing like what we’ve dealt with over the past year on a collective and painfully individual level. The COVID-10 pandemic forever changed our understanding of isolation; what was once a foreign concept to many is now the norm, and with such seclusion comes a whole world of visceral emotions and thoughts on what it means to live, to breath, to think, and to be a member of society. A raw, cathartic outpouring of inner turmoil, Sour Widows’ Crossing Over explores the depths of grief, heartbreak, loss, and space through four stirring tracks full of vulnerability and brimming with life. A direct result of the pandemic, it’s an EP that born out of life’s darker moments, and one that inadvertently reminds us why it’s so beautiful to be, right here, right now.

Crossing Over - Sour Widows
Crossing Over – Sour Widows
I clean up your room
I keep it nice for you, but I leave the light on
I let the bugs come inside where it’s warm
When you’re not home
I can’t keep track of you
I wait for a sign that you’ll come home soon
And sometimes I hear you call
From the moon or the roof or a bathroom stall
A place I don’t question
Space with an ending
And we’re never there too long
I can’t decide
– “Bathroom Stall,” Sour Widows

Released April 23, 2021 via Exploding in Sound Records, Crossing Over arrives just over a year after Sour Widows’ self-titled debut EP affirmed their place amongst Oakland’s best and brightest up-and-coming acts. The “heavy sleepy bedroom rock” trio of longtime friends Maia Sinaiko, Susanna Thomson, and Max Edelman, Sour Widows pride themselves on exposing tender moments with an edge: Their music is its own sonic weighted blanket, and yet for all their doom and gloom, Sour Widows’ music is equally (if not more so) a beacon of warmth, light, and utter beauty – and that’s exactly what’s waiting in store for listeners on the band’s sophomore extended player.

Sour Widows © Ginger Fierstein
Sour Widows © Ginger Fierstein

“The creation of the EP was very much informed by the new reality of the pandemic – in March of 2020 we decided we wanted to record a set of songs that reflected the current emotions we were experiencing as a result,” Sour Widows’ Susanna Thomson tells Atwood Magazine. “With suddenly so much time apart in our separate bubbles, and with the decimation of live music, the concepts of space and loss were on our minds a lot. Allowing those feelings to guide the music let us regain a sense of connection where it had been lost.”

“When we pivoted from recording a full length in-studio this past year to the idea of making a home recorded EP, we spent a few weeks planning out how we would execute it and what kind of textures or soundscapes we wanted to create. We thought we would have an easier time working with gentler, more open sounds for this EP, but we ended up really agonizing over the details and working tirelessly with the help of our engineer Cody Hamilton to make everything sound exactly as we had intended. In a way it sounds higher quality and more fully realized than our first EP because we had to spend so much time planning it out.”

It speaks to a sonic and emotional shift between projects; it represents a transition in our lifetime as a band, and points to a new direction.

Is it my age, my lack of direction
Call it a stage but I’m barely acting
I try to unweave these looming distractions
I came in with teeth, now they’re missing in action
I got a line on my face from playing discerning
It’s hard to admit I got tired of learning
There is no relief, no lesson in hurting
Just bad poetry, just the world and its turning
When you look the other way
I see something coming fast
And I beg you to stay
Tell me what it is
You pay it no mind
Say you found peace here, over time
And someday I’ll be as dead as a star
I’ll be burning my way to wherever you are
A curse is a miracle viewed from afar
And the end is the start
Is the start, is the start, is the start
I won’t look the other way
I’ll see something staring back
I won’t beg you to stay
I know what it is
I pay it no mind
Cuz I found peace here
I found peace here
– “Look the Other Way,” Sour Widows

We’ve all been forced to grow up a lot over the past year – some of us for more reasons that one. Named with intention, Crossing Over captures Sour Widows’ recent journey of self-discovery and transformation. The trio’s matured sound marries their debut’s musical edge with a refinement that accentuates their stunning dynamics and vivid instrumental tapestries (the tail end of “Look the Other Way” dazzles with a layered guitar collage), while all the while giving Thomson and Sinaiko’s lyrics a deserving spotlight. Yet for as moving as their words are – and a quick read of “Bathroom Stall” is surely enough to tug at the heartstrings – it’s ultimately both co-vocalists’ arresting presence that gives every Sour Widows song its magic spark.

Sour Widows © Ginger Fierstein
Sour Widows © Ginger Fierstein

Ever one to give their full self to the performance, Sinaiko dazzles while bringing to the fore a landslide of feelings usually reserved for our quietest moments and darkest caverns.

Sour Widows remind us that inner turmoil doesn’t have to be loud; in fact, it can be very quiet, tranquil, and even soothing; these qualities don’t take away from the volatility of our emotions and experiences – in fact, they can (and often, do) amplify them.

From the moment the guitars and drums slam down in “Look the Other Way,” to the final harmonized seconds in the gorgeous “Walk All Day,” Crossing Over embraces a wealth of styles and an impressively wide array of sound. “It shows a softer side and some of our roots as musicians who grew up on various styles of music including folk, jazz, and psych rock,” the band share. “There’s a new maturity in the songwriting and a more fleshed out sense of self.”

Sinaiko notes a few favorite lyrics, citing the title track’s chorus, “Rain fills the drive, and the radiator crying/I feel this life/splitting in me over and over in me” and the line, “A curse is a miracle viewed from afar” from opening track “Look The Other Way.” “It’s hard to choose a favorite song,” they add. “There are certainly favorite segments from each. The solo in “Crossing Over” and the bridge in “Bathroom Stall” are some favorites. Also the drum break on “Look The Other Way”!

Sour Widows © Ginger Fierstein
Sour Widows © Ginger Fierstein

One easy highlight, for the band and for listeners, is the EP’s breathtaking third track (and second single), “Bathroom Stall.” Soothingly soft, with vast swells of feeling and raw, yet finessed harmony, “Bathroom Stall” radiates with the pain of loss – layers of grief, reflection, soul-searching, and more come to the fore as the band balance between tension and release, chaos and control:

I clean up your room
I keep it nice for you, but I leave the light on
I let the bugs come inside where it’s warm
When you’re not home
I can’t keep track of you
I wait for a sign that you’ll come home soon
And sometimes I hear you call
From the moon or the roof or a bathroom stall
A place I don’t question
Space with an ending
And we’re never there too long
I can’t decide

“This song is about a relationship I had with someone who struggled with addiction, who very tragically passed away three years ago while we were together,” Sinaiko previously shared. “It’s about some moments we shared, and how it feels to walk around carrying that person and those experiences with me while the world stays normal. I wrote the song because I wanted to preserve and document what happened to me, to write out the scary stuff and just let it sit there forever. I think it’s funny that it’s called ‘Bathroom Stall’ and that it has that image in it; the song goes from heavy and dark to ordinary and totally pedestrian in a sentence, which feels absurd. And that’s kind of what it’s like to grieve. That’s kind of what’s hard to explain about grief, how absurd it is. Part of you goes to a different planet and part of you stays walking around like an alien on Earth, going to the bathroom and looking at the moon and shit.”

Sinaiko doesn’t just capture memories or a life lived in song; they weave listeners through a tapestry of visceral, turbulent experiences that, if we’re listening properly, will shake us to the core. Sour Widows’ songs feel epic, yet it’s the subtleties that make their music so memorable: The way they rise to a peak, only to fall to near silence; how the effected electric guitars glisten just right against Sinaiko’s vocals. Equally stunning, for a completely different reason, is EP closer “Walk All Day,” which trades in the electrics for a sweet warm acoustic, and finds the band coming together for a poignant spell of rich, haunting vocal harmonies.

Walk all day on your long legs
Like memory burns a great light
Up behind your back
Shadows cast around for a place to stay
When does a body finally cave?
I remember heavy summer nights
When a line hung in the sky
“Love is blind leading the blind”
And you touched me
Somewhere a dog whined
Waving hand hold to goodbye
Into forever cells divide
But you’ll never become someone else
I can’t recognize
And I can’t wish you well
From my shoulder an angel fell
Last night
Walk all day on your long legs
Turn the world as you turn away


When it comes to substance, Crossing Over can’t be beat. It’s emotionally devastating and musically bittersweet – a powerful, special 22-minute listen.

“The content of these songs is very specific and personal (as any art that tells an autobiographical story tends to be), but the act of processing loss and heartbreak is universal,” Susanna Thomson says. “We hope someone might feel a moment of recognition of grief in their own lives through listening to this record, lessening the feeling of isolation that is so inherent to those times in life. Externalizing some of these stories from our lives has felt extremely cathartic, and made us feel connected to the greater music community, especially during this time.”

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Sour Widows’ Crossing Over EP with Atwood Magazine as the band goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their latest release!

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:: stream/purchase Crossing Over here ::
Stream: ‘Crossing Over’ – Sour Widows



:: Inside Crossing Over ::

Crossing Over - Sour Widows

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Look the Other Way

Maia: I wrote Look The Other Way at a time when things in my life felt very unstable. It’s about anxiety around aging – about growing pains and moving forward into the unknown because that’s the only choice you have.

Crossing Over

Susanna: This song draws from my (Susanna) experience being in a long distance relationship, and the reckoning I’ve done with choice and sacrifice in my life. The narrative centers on a storm that we encountered on tour once – I wanted to capture the feeling of catharsis I felt while playing a show as that storm raged outside, a very present moment where I could just accept things as they were. The length of the song always comes as a surprise to me, because when we play it it never feels like it’s 7 and a half minutes long.

Bathroom Stall

Maia: This song is about my ex partner who died of a fatal overdose a few years ago while we were together. It’s about the weight of grief and the particular grief I felt afterwards. I wanted it to act as a space for me to feel out the scariest emotions and describe the specifics because when you lose someone in that sort of way there aren’t a lot of opportunities to talk about it in that way. I never intended us to play the song as a band, or for it to be performed at all really, but I’m very glad we did. 

Walk All Day

Susanna: Walk All Day is an older song, and Bathroom Stall’s sibling – it was mostly written in one night, right before receiving very sad news about someone’s passing. It was a surreal experience to feel that the song was about that person, without knowing it at the time it was created. The acoustic nature of the song is a callback to our roots as a band when we were kids and would play more folk oriented music together, spending a lot of time focusing on learning how to harmonize with each other.

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:: stream/purchase Crossing Over here ::

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Crossing Over - Sour Widows

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📸 © Ginger Fierstein

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