Wednesday, 28 October 2015

All Them Witches - “Dying Surfer Meets His Maker” (Album Review)

By: Victor Van Ommen

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 30/10/2015
Label: New West Records



Groovy and slow like the rocking back and forth of a fishing boat on a quiet lake seems to be the state of mind, but it’s not a lazy album. The free falling jams are certainly laid back and the songs are no different, such as the case with “Open Passageways,” a prime cut that tells a bizarre story while being guided by a wonderful string section that takes this song to a whole new level.


“Dying Surfer Meets His Maker” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Call Me Star
2). El Centro
3). Dirt Preachers
4). This Is Where It Falls Apart
5). Mellowing
6). Open Passageways
7). Instrumental 2 (Welcome To The Caveman Future)
8). Talisman
9). Blood and Sand / Milk and Endless Waters


All The Witches is:

Charles Michael Parks, Jr. | vocals/bass
Ben McLeod | guitar
Allan Van Cleave | keys
Robby Staebler | drums

The Review:

Nashville bred; anything-goes rockers All Them Witches will release their New West Records debut titled “Dying Surfer Meets His Maker” on Friday, October 30th. It is not sludgy, far from doomy, and the fuzz on it doesn’t remind of muscle cars or open roads. But what this album isn’t doesn’t detract from the fact that All Them Witches have a unique way of providing a solid lesson in what heavy is by way of their instrumentation and delivery on these gentle, melancholic psychedelta blues songs.

The common thread in “Dying Surfer Meets His Maker” is how the electric guitars twist through the clear, steel-stringed acoustic guitars. As far as drums and bass are concerned, let alone vocals, these dip in and out through the album’s run time, either pushing or accentuating the songs in such a way that they blend into each other, giving “Dying Surfer Meets His Maker” that album feel. “Call Me Star” opens the 45 minute run time with a bouncy picking of acoustic guitars which are quickly joined by a cool drum beat fed by feel rather than a metronome, representing the cool flow of what’s to come. But before things get too cozy, All Them Witches dive into a pulsating kraut rock jam followed by “Dirt Preachers,” which is as close as the album gets to the band’s prior output. Things settle down into swampy psychedelta rock from this point on, deeply planting its roots into the soil that Parks, Mcleod, Van Cleave, and Staeblet keep moist with their fluid jams. All Them Witches truly are nestled in the bosom of creation.

By the time the opening three tracks have passed and the echoing whispers in “This is Where it All Falls Apart” float above the bluesy Fender six string, All Them Witches branch out from their rockin’ past into a new sound that is difficult to pin down. Though equal parts heavy 70s, blues, and psychedelic, there’s no band that springs to mind as a comparison for what these guys do. Groovy and slow like the rocking back and forth of a fishing boat on a quiet lake seems to be the state of mind, but it’s not a lazy album. The free falling jams are certainly laid back and the songs are no different, such as the case with “Open Passageways,” a prime cut that tells a bizarre story while being guided by a wonderful string section that takes this song to a whole new level. Its beat is infectious and stands out as one of the album’s strongest moments, begging to be played over and over. “Talisman” is another standout, and though the sing-talking keeps the general mood mellow, it exudes a sure-footed confidence which is an essential ingredient for the album’s success. This confidence will no doubt be translated well into a live setting, convincing the riff-hungry crowds that their take on the genre is just as delicious as their peers, as All Them Witches hit the road with Kadavar and The Sword.

If any of this speaks to you then please do yourself a favor and cancel your plans for Friday. Head out to the record store and pick this album up. A bottle of red wine will enhance the experience but if that’s not your thing, fear not, this album stands strong on its own. Dim the lights, turn on the fireplace, and give the volume knob an extra nudge. All Them Witches have made something very unique and special with “Dying Surfer Meets His Maker,” and I’d like to strongly recommend that you get down with their trip.

“Dying Surfer Meets His Maker” is available here


Band info: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

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