Esben and The Witch – Violet Cries (Matador Records) 31/01/2011

January 26, 2011 by  

Violet Cries Artwork

Following 09’s self-released EP ‘33’, Brighton trio Esben and The Witch have quickly become a popular name, with a musical seal of approval by a number critics, and with their début album “Violet Cries” the band might manage to propel themselves into a more established position in the indie sphere, after lurking in the shadows for so long.

Esben and The Witch, the name stemming from a rather morbid Danish fairy-tale which matches their hauntingly noir rocky sound, formed in 2008 and have since then produced a few releases and a limited 7-inch single “Lucia, at the Precipice” before becoming one of the first British bands to be signed on Matador Records in almost a decade.

“Violet Cries”, both recorded and produced by the band’s Daniel Copeman, would best be described as nonlinear damaged pop, with hazy frustrations and an ebbing gloomy curio shining throughout. It is a steady début, filled with ghostly vocals and indie noise, with a musical landscape that amplifies their gothic post punk edge and bleak arty rock combined with the rather unconventional genre-bending of dub, echo and electronic experimentation. Ethereal atmospherics and reverb heavy-affairs are presented in an effortlessly cool way, seductively submerging you into their music.

The witchy band has created a cohesive body of work of indie rock, goth rock and post-punk, fusing to a sound which borders on the likes of XX, Siouxsie & The Banshees and Deerhunter. The towering vocal theatrics of lead singer Rachel Davies draw a clear resemblance to Florence Welch of Florence and The Machine. Although, the songs sometimes wander a little off the beaten path and a few tracks have a tendency to blend into each other, almost unrelentingly. However, they never fail to deliver the oddly dark atmosphere and their poetic lyrics, which have become the band’s trademark.

“Violet Cries”, is an intriguingly dark and dramatic record, with a distinctive spooky and frighteningly beautiful sound. It is a risky, highly un-commercial debut, with the casual listener arguably not being the band’s demographic. But it’s namely its irony-free originality that makes the album so interesting. While not perfect, “Violet Cries” is a very promising début that grows in stature on every listen. Esben and The Witch are definitely a band worth keeping an eye out for in 2011.

[rating:3]


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