October 30, 2012

Song Review: Esben and the Witch's "Deathwaltz"

On last year's promising debut Violet Cries, Esben and the Witch gave listeners a lot to take in and think about with the album's swirling soundscape of shivering post-punk and slumbering atmospherics. Seasonably apt for that year's blizzard of a winter across the northeast paints the picture the dark-minded Brighton, England three-piece displayed, which is why it doesn't come as much of a surprise to read they've chosen the dead of the season to bewitch us again on their sophomore effort Wash the Sins Not Only the Face, due out January 21st through Matador Records. Guitarist Daniel Copeman has said of the new material that it's "more focused, more confident," which is indeed telling in the album's first preview, "Deathwaltz." The degree of difficulty at which Violet Cries played out was perhaps its largest criticism, requiring listeners to get comfy and in the right mindset for repeat listens that would allow its gorgeous nebulous of dark hues to unravel within the stereo, but "Deathwaltz" does away with that notion. Opting for immediacy in a panic of guitars fluttering around the light of a cherub in the form of Rachel Davies' vocals, her entranced musings do their best to guide each calculated chord progression and drum march toward an exit we're not yet sure even exists by track's end. While Esben and the Witch continue dabbling in elements of black magic here, the mystery of it already sounds more rewarding when it's easier to see how the tricks are done.

Esben and the Witch's "Deathwaltz"

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