Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Esben and the Witch - Violet Cries

This is a band surrounded by accusations of Goth, rumours of a dark comeback on our shores…quick run! Well personally, I don’t think it ever went anywhere so don’t go rushing for your mirrored sunglasses just yet, it merely shapeshifted into bands like The XX , even Bat For Lashes… hmm controversial, I think so anyway.

This melancholic trio are made up of Brighton's, Rachel Davies, the Siouxsie-esque front woman, along with Daniel Copeman and Thomas Fisher.

It’s an easy target really; ‘Goth’ is only taken seriously if it’s part of a literary movement but' hurrah' for now as Esben and the Witch have quite a traditional Goth sound going on that is nowhere near cringe worthy. All they need now is a dark style makeover? Although I’m guessing that’s their secret ingredient; no big hair, not even much black and they even have a man with a bloody beard, not even a wizard shaped one; too much risk of the cliché factor.

So the album ‘Violet Cries’, did you shiver? It’s slow, ambient in places, it builds and builds and sometimes just stops; not one for you hook craving whores, it’s a just a bit spooky, a tiny bit in the shadows, ethereal, melancholic la la laaaaaaa, reverbing like All About Eve on a happily sad day. The tales of armies, the evil, dreams, nature; it’s the ‘batty’ for lashes mixed with Miranda Sex Garden and the perfect self indulgent come down sound. Music has many uses after all.

The opening track is such a perfect choice and mood setter for the album. ‘Argyria’ is just gorgeousness, not one for the impatient types and definitely for those that like that ‘spirited away’ feel every now and then. ‘Marching Song’ is just protesting on epic proportions and so obviously the single from Violet Cries. 'Light Streams' is the weakest track for me…but with beatitude of 'Warpath', 'Eumenides' and Marine Fields Glow, it’s a dark side winner without the pretence.

And for all those people saying Esben and the Witch are the new Florence…what? If  Flo tried to protest about anything, it would involve skipping, giggling, a harp and some drumsticks fashioned out of twigs or something and possibly forgetting words, equally as entertaining and lovely but not the same.

Here’s the video for Marching Song…kind of enjoy?

Released 31st January… step away from the velvet dress and embrace the very grown up corporate/political goth seriousness.

Tracklist :

1. Argyria
2. Marching Song
3. Marine Fields Glow
4. Light Streams
5. Hexagons IV
6. Chorea
7. Warpath
8. Battlecry/Mimicry
9. Eumenides
10. Swans


  1. Your take on goth music is well said. Goth is the same as it ever was. Really enjoying Esben and the Witch.

  2. Thank you...Violet Cries is a great album.