Having released much of their previous material themselves, All Them Witches are putting their latest psych-rock epic through the New West label. Locking themselves away in a Tennessee cabin for 5 days, they’ve emerged with Dying Surfer Meets His Maker as a result. Whilst there is a definite groove; switching between soft vocals over picked guitars and Hawkwind esque bass driven peaks, there is a palpable sombreness to this record.
8/10 Robin Staff review, 16 February 2016
It seems just yesterday we were filling the void between our ears and silence with the latest All Them Witches record; in actuality it was a month ago, and the record was ‘Lightning At the Door’, initially released in 2013 and worming its way back to us through a self-release. I guess you could call them hardworking; another word is prominent. Having learned from the romanticised log-cabin tales of one Bon Iver, and maybe the more psychedelic regimens of Eternal Tapestry, ATW recorded ‘Dying Surfer Meets His Maker’ in a “remote cabin”. Those sound so cool.
ATW’s vibe has endured over the years, which is no bad thing: they still fold both a love of Americana and ever-numbing psych rock into their records, moving swiftly between twanging, acoustically strummed numbers and self-reliant riffworks. When a track like “El Centro” starts it feels like it’s always been playing, a heady mix of soloing and sloshy drums meeting and then marrying for a long, long time. That’s commitment. The record’s rarely feel wholesome, as a result -- dropping out of an unplugged number into one that’s deeply distorted and driven by fills feels kinda chaotic. But that’s the way they like it.
The twilit “This Is Where It Falls Apart” stands as my favourite ATW moment, and it’s easy to see why: it brings together the band’s psychedelic inclinations as peacefully as possible with their Americana, a brothy, Protomaryr-esque voice weaving a stoic story as harmonica whines and a haze of psychedelic guitar begins to balladeer in a hopeless attempt to wind up a bonus track to the Best of Chris Isaak. As ever, I admire this band’s commitment to trying pretty much anything while remaining recognisable for their own peculiar craft.
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