Archive for the ‘Esben and The Witch’ Category

Antennas to Heaven: Esben and the Witch

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Silence the phone, draw the blinds and zone out to some experimental rock delights.

It’s hard not to attribute part of Esben and the Witch’s new direction to the guidance of one Steve Albini, a man whose production shines through so strongly with each band he works with. The usual Albini adjectives — strong, muscular, jagged, raw — are easily applicable with the trio’s third full-length A New Nature, a record by an artist whose previous work came from the new (dark) wave of Siouxsie revivalists.

It’s a partnership that’s boded well for a band whose songs were once shrouded in the oppressive smog of gothic atmosphere. Now they’re focused and clearer, as if carved from stone. Never stifling, the work of guitarist Thomas Fisher adds brooding intensity, combined with the powerfully resonant voice of Rachel Davies, straddling post-punk protégés Savages, though with a classic rock gleam in the eyes.

‘The Jungle’ serves as the MO for the new sound: a bed of sparse guitars flowing across a steady-handed kick drum as Davies croons mournfully into doomy riffs that never fully envelop, setting the scene for a progressive epic starring a Middle Eastern trumpet section and Bonham-approved drums that speak of unflappable momentum and the assurance of a band progressing beyond their roots.