[sic] Magazine

Esben & The Witch – 33

It seems, however heathen the Rock Fan, the need for occasional spiritual music is constant. Of course what you call spiritual and I call spiritual may well differ (trust me – it does) but I’m thinking Cocteau Twins (get it) or Sigur Ros (less so). Esben & The Witch inhabit spiritual realms but pleasingly on the ‘33’ EP the physical is not discarded. From the slightly effeminate Grey’s Anatomy cover image to ‘Marching Song’ (Siouxsie Sioux engaged in open warfare with a wood block in a 30s Berlin night club) the viscera is exposed. For every ‘(abstract)’ (track 1), floating and shifting there is a sensual mix of glitch and lacerating guitar like ‘about this peninsula’. And even ‘(abstract)’ gets rather dark, the vocals going to the background like a radio signal being lost in white noise, before bleeding into ‘eumenides’ more euphoric chiming. The whole is held in place by vocals rather lighter than said SS on most (All About Eve’s Julianne Reagan would be nearer the mark though the overall is darker and sharper than AAE’s Goth Lite). The final ‘corridors’ is not unlike Sugarcubes without the ‘odd’ factored in and with some very stadium keyboard stabs and greatcoat guitar. While I could hazard a guess as to some of their listening habits there is a modern feel to the shadowy moves, a light touch to the applied eye-liner. If they get weirder I’d be happier (I think a major would ruin them) but all the signs are this is a band that will gain obsessive fans.