Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Esben and the Witch: "Violet Cries," Indie Rock from Brighton

Formed in Brighton, England in 2008, Esben and the Witch have a trio configuraton but it isn't meant to be a "power" sort of threesome. There's Rachel Davies on bass, and on vocals that remind me a little of the Cure's lead singer, only a female version and a little more raw; Daniel Copeman, guitar and electronics; and Thomas Fisher, guitar and keys. In other words no drummer--but there are electronically produced drums and percussion, perhaps activated by the keyboard sound module?

Anyway their 2011 album Violet Cries (Matador) has a sound that does not put them in pop territory. Instead they dwell in a zone that allows ambitious sonar explorations of their physical and internal worlds.

They do not entirely fit in with some prepackaged notion as to where a band of this sort is supposed to fit in. To listen to Violet Cries is to listen to something on its own terms. There are large electronic caverns to dwell in, walls of sound that sometimes rapidly vanish like a mirage, to be replaced by another sound universe. The electronic, echo-laden ambiance and contrasting unfolding blocks of guitar-bass-synth-drums make for interesting listening. The vocals may take some getting used to.

They are doing something stylistically advanced. What that "is" is, is not your standard fare. (Hmm...three "is"'s in a row?) For this reason I would heartily recommend it for those looking for something that is not something else!


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