Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Esben And The Witch "A Scratchy Spotlight"

I hopped onto this brooding broomstick via The Stool Pigeon music paper, when they favourably featured Esben and the Witch on the 'demos and myspace' review page in the Summer 2009 edition. Taking the name from a macabre Danish fairy tale (Is there any other type!) read about the fairy tale, this trio, based in Brighton U.K, claim to be influenced by glaciers, caverns and waning moons. For the benefit of those of you, who prefer more conventional comparisons, I'd pitch them in a coven attended by The Cure, Radiohead, The Cranes, Portishead and This Mortal Coil.

It's 'Gothic' in the traditional sense of the mood being melodramatic, conjuring up a sound of an evening of hedonism with Mary Shelley and Lord Byron, as opposed to being in a mood because one's too hot because yer wearing all black in the height of summer and the mascara is beginning to run type of goth.

This nightmare electro-post-rock is the product of Rachael Davies (vocals, percussion) , Daniel Copeman (electronics, guitars) and Thomas Fisher (guitars, keyboards) The musical brew is concocted with the ingredients of an organ, drum machines, some glockenspiel action and a groove box connected to a kaosillator!? as well as some scratchy guitars, which always goes down well here. A real plus point is Rachael's strong pure voice that's got enough oomph to carry the tunes and maintain the listener's interest.

'About This Peninsula' is shimmery and spectral and the tense 'Marching Song' hovers with a nervous spiky energy that beguiles. 'Eumenides' is a taught tune with ghostly siren like whispers, this one recalled for me, that fine recent episode of Dr Who called "Blink" You know the one with the moving statues which had us all hiding behind the sofa. The pick of the pack for me is 'Corridors' which has a menacing rattlesnake hissing sound, it makes your skin crawl but in a good way, then it slowly builds up into a dramatic climax. They're currently unsigned with a solitary E.P '33' under their cloak. You can download it here generously made available by the band for gratis.

Esben And The Witch have bagged themselves a slot at end of the road festival in September, where they should put in a spellbinding show (shucks! I almost made it through the review, without a reference to the blindingly obviously pun, oh well) Will they be accompanied on the stage by their resident owl? just like Birdpen have their bird mascot on stage, is this a new feathered based genre? perhaps I can lump'em together in a NME 'making up a hot new scene' stylee... how about "hardclaw", "fieldgaze" anyone? "chirp rock" "drum and cheap"...... hmm, I'll get me cloak!

Blips On The Blog Radar

Esben And the Witch - Confide In Me - Cover of the Kylie Minogue classic recorded live at The Freebutt, Brighton, 28/01/09

Upcoming Gigs
25 Jul 2009 Brighton The Freebutt
06 Aug 2009 London Hoxton Square Bar & Grill
22 Aug 2009London Notting Hill Arts Club
11 Sep 2009 Dorset End Of The Road Festival
01 Oct 2009 Sheffield The Harley

No comments: