Monday, 11 May 2009

Esben and the Witch – 33

Esben and the Witch make a sweeping ambient sounding post-rock infused with elements of electronica that’s really eerie and melancholic as well as brooding intense and beautiful. The three-some from Brighton may well be named after a Danish fairy tale, which even if it isn’t true and my google skills are just sending me in strange directions it kind of fits, the spooky mesmerising ethereal sounds could sound track some twisted tales.

The vocal delivery really reminds me of the Sneaker Pimps or Portishead it oozes with sweet and fragile yet strong melancholy melody that deal with subjects in wistful story-like ways, her voice really is something of beauty. The instrumentation is just as good and full to the brim with tension built with stretched out other worldly guitars both electric and accoustic making swathes of gritty atmosphere or plucked subtle mellodys and electronic percussion and other elements really adding a sense of energy and dread.

33 is a strong EP throughout starting with the small intro number ‘(abstract)’ that melts seamlessly into ‘eumenidies’ via ghostly tortured singing and a beautiful subtle guitar melody that builds into a dramatic electronic bass pulse, piercing high hats and some gritty post-rock noise. When the tension drops into the stripped back breakdown it takes your breath away.

The middle two tracks ‘marching song’ and ‘about this peninsula’ are definite highlights. The first building with marching percussion and swathes of fuzzed guitar before an electronic pulse kicks in and the vocals really pick up the pace with some really swaggering dramatic pent up melody and words on a lone soldier having to walk into battle. The line of, ‘Your veins are my trenches, my gut is my own, the whispers fall heavy with delicate moans’ really gets things kicking off and peaks the track before it descends into ghostly moans and accordion. ‘About this peninsula’ covers similar themes all while reminding me of a post-rock 15 Steps by Radiohead, this must be because of the drum machine. When the first guitar burst kicks in on this one with a euphoric release after the dramatic build it really shows this bands strength.

Closing track ‘corridors’ is a moody deep number with plenty of bass and darkness that opens out into electronic drones and noisy guitars before drifting into an ambient mid passage before picking up a slow house-like kick and an epic soundscape not unlike a toned down Before the dawn heals us era M83 or early Portishead. It’s a nice number that’s for sure.

Esben and the Witch have an ambient post-rock underbelly that stretches out into full on melodramatic songs that are well worth a listen, 33 is an engaging listen. They are currently un-signed so go and show them some love.


Daniel said...

just re read this mister exploder, really wonderful sir! you have a lovely way with words.

also Mt. Kimbie are bloody wonderful aren't they!

Anonymous said...

I'm looking for lyrics of their songs but I cant seem to find them anywhere :(

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