Tuesday 21 October 2014

All Them Witches - Lightning At The Door (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 16/9/2014
Label: Self Released

‘Lightning A The Door’ LP track listing:

A1. Funeral For A Great Drunken Bird
A2. When God Comes Back
A3. The Marriage of Coyote Woman
A4. Swallowed By The Sea
B1. Charles William
B2. The Death of Coyote Woman
B3. Romany Dagger
B4. Mountain


All Them Witches began conjuring up music together in 2012. Foregoing theater school to focus on songwriting, Parks traded New Mexico for Nashville at 19-years-old. The Shreveport, Louisiana native met drummer Robby Staebler while the two shared a shift at a “corporate hippie store”. Robby showed Parks some music he and guitarist Ben McLeod had written, and it inspired the singer to jam—which he adds, “I usually never do. It made sense though”.

Adding Robby’s longtime friend Allan Van Cleave to the fold on Fender Rhodes, All Them Witches cut their debut Our Mother Electricity. Almost immediately after, they began working on its follow-up 2013’s Lightning At The Door. Recorded live in a matter of days with producer and engineer Andy Putnam, the boys tapped into a distinct energy, mustering bluesy soul, Southern swagger, and thunderous hard rock all at once.


Although All Them Witches made it clear they'd rather not be compared to Black Sabbath and The Black Keys, the album has the heaviness of the first and the looseness of the latter. Good news is that this second release reveals the band's unique identity with authority. If you haven't listened to it yet, you know what to do next.
All Them Witches starts their 2013 record (Note this review is for the re release on vinyl on 16/9/2014) with quite an original composition, 'Funeral for a Great Drunken Bird'. In this 4.5 minute song, the band opens up with deep ambience from the violin. Within 20 seconds, the multiple layers of sound meet and immerse us immediately. Quickly helped by the sound of the guitar with the meatiest fuzz effect, a long and satisfying riff plays before the rest of the band comes in. The tones of each instrument are genuinely perfect, and with this first song we can already hear the amazing work of co-producer Andy Putnam and each band member. Lovers of psychedelic and heavy, youre served, the trip begins.
The second track 'When God Comes Back' has a more straightforward feel which will keep everyones head banging. The verse is built on a style of repetitive call and response which is reminiscent of blues, yet the power of the riff and the intensity of each musician affirms were still very much in heavy music territories.
The band falls under the label of Delta psychedelic rock, and mentioning the band's roots in the Delta area of Southern America, from where blue emerged, gives context to their sound.  I'll be the first to say that blues songs have a tendency to be too repetitive, but in the case of 'The Marriage of Coyote Woman', there's never enough of that melody played by the guitars and the keys. All instruments gel joyously with each other and set a great mood as well as leaving the right amount of space for one of the best vocal deliveries on the album. The first line, ‘I never met a salesman like you before’ will leave you in awe for a long time.
'Swallowed by the Sea' features the heaviest riff of the record, joining the ranks of Conan and Sleep. The light intro featuring vocals, acoustic guitar and some bizarre harmonies in preparation of this long and beautiful track. But beware, before you will board onto this 5 minute journey, the band will show you what real heavy sounds like.
All Them Witches is particularly good at laying down solid grooves with superb bluesy melody, showcased by 'Charles William'. The story unravels slowly, while the music takes us back and forth between heavy tones and low dynamic blues riffs. The same applies to 'The Death of Coyote Woman', regardless of your state of mind; you will find yourself nodding along quickly. Towards the end of the track, the repeated guitar phrase going up and down through the scale and the addition of several drums is another achievement from the band, as they continue to create a tasteful and signature sound.
'Romany Dagger' is quite unique within the record and could be classified as an interlude. The band plays a short instrumental that shows their blues roots, as well as their folk influences.
The final track, 'Mountain' is yet another confirmation that the band truly plays together. With the drums alone starting this last song, it's clear once again how good every member sounds individually and together. The richness of the alchemy, feel, and grove - whatever you want to call it - permeates not only this punctuating track, but the entire record.

Words by:  Zach Mizzi

The vinyl is limited to 500 pieces and you can pick up a copy here

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