Esben and the Witch - Wash the Sins Not Only the Face (3 stars)

Harrowing, furrow-browed and worthy follow-up to debut

Esben and the Witch - Wash the Sins Not Only the Face


Like The Horrors with the darkness turned up to 11, Brighton trio Esben and the Witch make music which sounds like it was beamed directly in from a provincial student union sometime around the late 80s or early 90s. It sounds bloody great in small doses, with Rachel Davies’ haunting vocal threaded through a cascading, reverb-heavy wash of guitars and electronic effects played by herself, Daniel Copeman and Thomas Fisher.

In a full album’s sitting, though, it does begin to fog the senses without the delicacy or humour of close analogues like My Bloody Valentine or Mogwai. Yet this is a worthy follow-up to 2011’s Violet Cries, with fraught, sinister ballads like ‘Yellow Moon’ and ‘Putting Down the Pray’, and the harrowing, furrow-browed closer ‘Smashed to Pieces in the Still of the Night’ setting the most satisfying tone.

Esben and the Witch play the Art School, Glasgow, Fri 8 Feb.

Esben and the Witch - Deathwaltz

Esben and the Witch - "Despair" (Official Music Video)


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