12 Songs, 52 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Taking its name from a Danish fairy tale, Esben & The Witch weave sonic spells of dark power on their album debut Violet Cries. At first blush, the British trio might seem to be updating Siouxsie & The Banshees’ goth-punk aesthetic in these tracks. But band members Thomas Fisher, Daniel Copeman, and Rachael Davies establish their own identity through a rigorous use of astringent noise and a medieval-minded lyric sensibility. Davies’ tormented, echo-bathed vocal presence is surrounded by billowing clouds of feedback and throbbing electronic pulses that rise and recede to dramatic effect. The single “Marching Song” defines the album’s intentions — its apocalyptic lyrics and ominous arrangement confront the listener like a bayonet in the ribs. The churning “Warpath” and the jittery “Hexagon IV” likewise explore nether-regions of the soul. Davies offers a seductive incantation in “Light Streams” as the track passes from eerie calm into panic-wracked cacophony. At its best, Violet Cries has a cinematic quality, with “Eumenides” and “Argyria” suggesting vast landscapes of unfolding light and shadow.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Taking its name from a Danish fairy tale, Esben & The Witch weave sonic spells of dark power on their album debut Violet Cries. At first blush, the British trio might seem to be updating Siouxsie & The Banshees’ goth-punk aesthetic in these tracks. But band members Thomas Fisher, Daniel Copeman, and Rachael Davies establish their own identity through a rigorous use of astringent noise and a medieval-minded lyric sensibility. Davies’ tormented, echo-bathed vocal presence is surrounded by billowing clouds of feedback and throbbing electronic pulses that rise and recede to dramatic effect. The single “Marching Song” defines the album’s intentions — its apocalyptic lyrics and ominous arrangement confront the listener like a bayonet in the ribs. The churning “Warpath” and the jittery “Hexagon IV” likewise explore nether-regions of the soul. Davies offers a seductive incantation in “Light Streams” as the track passes from eerie calm into panic-wracked cacophony. At its best, Violet Cries has a cinematic quality, with “Eumenides” and “Argyria” suggesting vast landscapes of unfolding light and shadow.

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