Review: Esben And The Witch | Violet Cries

Matador (2011)
By MIRIAM LAMEY  |  January 27, 2011
1.0 1.0 Stars

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This debut is akin to an amateur theater production. Throughout its unnecessary drama, the Brighton (UK) trio try to reinvent shoegaze but get lost in their own excessive and confusing use of effects pedals. Under the thick coat of feedback fuzz, the band also nod to Radiohead circaAmnesiac with a cacophony of electronic beeps and bangs and piercing synth chords that all come united in "Chorea." Other tracks, like the opening "Argyria," have atmospheric promise, but these — as well as most of the album — showcase singer Rachel Davies's overproduced and coquettishly British vocals. Esben and the Witch do create a dreamy and æthereal vibe that lives up to their Danish fairy-tale moniker — it's both weird and creepy. The sonic spectacle hits a cringeworthy peak with "Marching Song," where instruments play directly in response to Davies's heavy vocal calls. Things don't improve much with "Warpath," a heavily scripted track with distorted riffs and echoey, booming vocals that fall into a discordant mess. And these shortcomings enjoy numerous reprises. If Esben and the Witch don't quell their sonic histrionics, they may not get a second curtain call.

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