Having been hooked by the band with their limited edition cassette single Concrete/Chain Of Command earlier this year, there was a fair few tingles running through anticipation with the announcement of the debut album from Witching Waves. Those urges have grown to lustful proportions now that Fear Of Falling Down has infested ears and psyche, the release confirming all the promise and thrills experienced before whilst showing a broader adventure and creative resourcefulness in songwriting and sound.
Hailing from London and formed in 2013 as the brainchild of duo Emma Wigham and Mark Jasper (Sound Savers Recording Studio), Witching Waves through their unrelenting appetite for performing live and songs swiftly drew keen attention their way. Fusing as many essences of punk as you can imagine in a noise and discord sculpted garage pop incitement, the band bridges the DIY essence of the late seventies and the voracious causticity of modern invention; kind of like Swell Maps meets The White Stripes but for a truly unique and tenaciously addictive proposition.
Released via Soft Power Records, Fear Of Falling Down sees the duo now a threesome with the addition of a bassist, though we cannot tell you the name. The band’s fourth release, after three cassette singles, is a master class in raw sonic temptation and primal rhythmic slavery; each song united by a certain anthemic swing and creative tenacity yet alone in warped character and discordant agitation. Recorded on to 8 track tape, the album is a minimalistic yet inventively involved incitement, a cavernously toned but intimately delivered protagonist to excite ears and imagination with ease.
The album’s title track is the first to get the juices flowing, the opening jangle of guitar just the prelude to a rhythmically driven slice of agitated pop. The excellent vocals of Wigham soon join the rampancy of drums and the scrub of guitar before Jasper takes over with his equally captivating tones. Virulently catchy with a bounce to match, the track dances with ears and emotions from start to finish; every note, beat, and vocal enterprise simple but expertly creative seduction.
The post punk kissed Cold Out comes next, the contrast of the harmonic elegance and rawer expression of Wigham and Jasper respectively, alone a gripping enticement. In some ways there is an early Siouxsie and the Banshees feel to the song but also the flowing melodic quaintness of a Morningwood, the combination an addictive proposition, though soon surpassed by the poppy endeavour of Better Run. A slight spring of surf rock runs through the garage rock bred song whilst again vocals are as broadly bewitching as the slim but pungent sounds around them. As most tracks on the album, it is hard for feet taps and vocal participation to restrain from joining the band during the progress of its gently cacophonous croon before it makes way for the post punk infused stroll of Counterpoint. With repetitious riffs and infectious rhythmic bait, the song is a more challenging persuasion with its soaking of acidic discord and off key dynamics, but another to leave ears and passions basking.
The raw charm of Concrete comes next, its opening Buzzcocks spiced hook an instant attention grabber whilst a courting stride of rhythms draw their own submissive response. The plain almost disillusioned monotone vocals of Jasper contrast perfectly with the fluid melodies of Wigham, whilst the throaty melancholic bass prowl simply adds an addictive icing to the enthralling coaxing of body and mind. Like an unhinged blend of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Cramps, the song is an aurally dishevelled but controlled temptress, and the perfect appetiser for the brilliance of the following Creeping. Stalking ears with rhythmic eagerness, the song stomps with muscular and concussive beats as riffs and basslines flirt with their own rowdy enterprise. There is for not the first or last time, a similarity to Scottish duo The Creeping Ivies about the band’s sound across the album, here being a potent comparison though again Witching Waves emerge as individual and original in every sonic aspect.
Both the outstanding News, with its hypnotic rhythmic baiting and spicy garage rock keys around a creative drama, and the intrigue drenched Wait Around keeps the adventure of Fear Of Falling Down on its highest plateau. The first of the two is a web of colour rich discordance and imaginative confrontation honed into a ridiculously infectious trap which simply leaves ears, thoughts, and emotions grinning whilst its successor juggles sonic abrasion with warm pop harmonies for another song which takes longer to reach the peaks of others, but only adds to the unpredictable and captivating climate of the release.
Fear Of Falling Down closes with the excellent Barber where garage punk and eighties post punk meet for a contagion filled stamp of punchy beats and wiry hooks aligned to velvety heavy bass lures. It all of course infused with the wonderfully clashing and superbly united vocal attack of Wigham and Jasper.
If Witching Waves have impressed before with their early appetisers then the album offers a fuller and more flavoursome meal of dissonant and melody bred noise. For those new to one of the UK’s most thrilling propositions, Fear Of Falling Down is a sonic lust in the making.
Fear Of Falling Down is available via Soft Power Records as a Limited Edition Vinyl LP (250 Copies) and digital download @ http://softpowerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/fear-of-falling-down
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