Posts Tagged ‘Witching Waves’

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Formed back in 2013 as the brain-child of drummer Emma Wigham and guitarist Mark Jasper, Witching Waves have been one of the most thrillingly brutal acts on the London DIY scene ever since. Now relocated to Yorkshire, and with quite possibly music’s busiest person, Estelle Adeyeri adding some bassy brilliance, Witching Waves have recently announced the release of their third album Persistence, and shared the latest single from it Eye 2 Eye.

Persistence was recorded completely live in just two days at Sound Savers, the East London studio Mark co-ran, and which was such an important hub for so many of the records we cover on this site. As the title would suggest Persistence, is in some ways a record about the power of carrying on, a record about change, distance and making things works: perfectly captured here on Eye 2 Eye. The band have described the track as, “an ode to conflict”, that energy matched in the typically frenetic playing, three minutes of breathless, guitar riffing, driving bass and quite possibly the most thrilling drum sound we’ve ever heard. Emma and Mark share vocals throughout, breathlessly spitting out lyrics, barely giving them time to register, only revealing themselves on repeat listens, “when did we decide to talk about it? how do we begin to talk about it?” The energy, the drive, the beautiful, brutal noise of it all, Witching Waves are everything we want in a band, and have never sounded better.

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From Witching Waves new album, Persistence out 5th April on Specialist Subject Records.

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Witching Waves have the wonderful ability of making the imperfect sound perfect. These songs have all the hallmarks of great guitar rock songs without having to sound polished. There’s a very strong Sleater-Kinney vibe to this record in the buzzing guitar sound. The male-female vocals are extremely effective together on songs that sound sharp and desperate. Listen to ‘Seeing Double’ and revel in its raucous energy and expect more of the same from every track on this record.

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Our album, Fear of Falling Down, out now through Soft Power Records.  It would be a real shame if Witching Waves fell into the cracks created by the retrospective and anticipatory stampedes, because right at the end of 2014 they produced one of the years best debut LPs.

Having ensconced themselves in the DIY scene in the last year and a half with a series of tape releases as a duo, Witching Waves recently expanded to a three piece with the addition of a bassist and hooked up with excellent Edinburgh label Soft Power, who have been responsible for early releases from the likes of The Spook School and September Girls. It’s a good fit, too, without doubt enhancing Soft Power’s enviable back catalogue.

Fear of Falling Down takes its cue from garage rock, and is driven on by grubby riffs and a breathless sense of urgency. However, in the same way as the likes of the Vaselines before them, beneath the chaos there lies a series of well-written and carefully structured songs, and it feels like this is what will give the album true longevity. They’ve avoided the very real pitfall of just chucking a couple of riffs and a bit of shouting together and turning it all up to ten to generate some cheap kicks, and the result is a collection which is rich in depth and bears plenty of repeat visits.

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As well as creating the primal thrills which send the album hurtling forward, Witching Waves have also done a really great job of capturing the euphoria of classic Sixties pop. ‘Better Run’ is the strongest example of this, powered by sheer exuberance but with a gloriously catchy chorus underpinning it. ‘Concrete’ is similarly instant, with Emma Wigham and Mark Jasper’s sweetly fractured harmonies adding a real winsomeness to the recordings.

In addition to his vocal and guitar duties, Jasper also produced Fear of Falling Down at his Sound Savers studio, and you get the sense that keeping the whole thing insular has helped to affirm the strong sense of identity Witching Waves exhibit throughout. Clearly, song arrangements stripped to their basic components with male/female dual vocals are nothing new, nor are they particularly rare these days, but there’s still a certain intangible something about this record that feels unlike any other band and stops it feeling like some kind of pastiche of established styles. It could be the deliciously dark undertone lurking just under the surface, or possibly the satisfying juxtaposition of pop sensibility and tumult. Perhaps it’s just the skill and dexterity of the song writing. Whatever it is that sets Witching Waves apart from their contemporaries, they’re unquestionably a breath of fresh air. If you’re planning on spending some of the sleepy festive downtime catching up on stuff you missed the first time round this year, make sure you don’t neglect this gem.!

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