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Let's Go to the No Go Zone

The Witches

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Album Review

Pop bands are usually supposed to sound bright and cheery, but don't anyone tell the Witches about that. Witches leader Troy Gregory has mastered the art of writing tunes that would have fit right in on AM radio in the mid-'60s, except they sound a little strange. At once catchy as all get-out and just a shade creepy, Let's Go to the No Go Zone captures the sound of Phil Spector, Joe Meek, and Kim Fowley meeting in a head-on collision en route to a party thrown by Sky Saxon and the Banana Splits. Which is not to suggest that Gregory is entirely stuck in the '60s, but his melodic sense certainly hearkens back to pop of that era, while his musical approach draws from the pounding drums and lean, wiry guitars of the Velvet Underground, and the mingled harmonies, feedback overdubs, manipulated sound effects, and deep-echoed studio ambience create a mood that's at once playful and sinister. Let's Go to the No Go Zone is cool, tuneful, and quite witty, and Gregory has assembled an impressive supporting cast (including Matthew Smith, Jim Diamond, and Deb Agolli), but when Troy sings "Oh, we're gonna colonize the moon" or "Don't believe, don't believe there's no such thing as ghosts" on tunes like "My Superstar Pills," "See It (With Your Eyes Closed)," or "Deflowering the Infant Succubus," it's hard to tell if he's funning listeners or if he really means it (maybe a little of both). Ideal entertainment for anyone's next séance or teenage dance party.

Biography

Formed: Detroit, MI

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Merging hooky, '60s-influenced pop with pounding drums and moody, ominous undercurrents, the Witches suggest the bastard spawn of Phil Spector and the Velvet Underground — a sound and style that might surprise some people, given the early résumé of the group's leader, Troy Gregory. Born in Detroit, Gregory first gained national prominence when he joined Arizona thrash-metalists Flotsam & Jetsam as bassist in 1987, a year after Jason Newsted left the group to join Metallica. In 1991, Gregory...
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Let's Go to the No Go Zone, The Witches
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