Posts Tagged ‘crystal cafe’

Witching Waves at Bearded Magazine

Sometimes deadpan Sonic Youth, sometimes Veronica Falls trading vocals and sometimes screaming like the Pixies, Witching Wavessecond album conjures a meaner beast from the darkness for the London trio.

The main thrust of Crystal Café is the overriding disdain for life and their surroundings. There’s not just a mild sense of peril in the words “Why can’t everything be the same? It’s so much worse when you make an aim” or sigh of disappointment in “3, 2, 1 I’m back to square one” from the track ‘Make It Up’ it’s an actual boredom at how crap Witching Waves see life as. There’s no expectation from them and all of that is poured into this music and mixed in with whatever will to make an effort they have left. The result is an album delivered through gritted teeth with guitars that give more cut than their fuzzed sound would usually allow.

But this doesn’t seem to be an album all about being miserable and having a crap time of it – that would be dull. It also moves with a decent pace and jigs around with menace. Lead singer Emma Wigham’s vocals exist upon two planes. She’s either deadpan and subdued or leading a procession of staring, nodding crowds forwards. Something as simple as repeatedly chanting, “I try” in ‘The Threat’ is effective in setting a chugging pace, alongside roughly struck DIY guitars, to create additional live atmosphere for this album.

Waiting for the end of the album is worth it with ‘The Flowers’ finishing with its deadpan and deep guitars. It highlights the deeper duskiness to both the vocals and guitar. This mirrors a Wolf Alice or, again, a Sonic Youth song. It shows that while Witching Waves do pump out the pessimism at a pace, they can also sit in their emotions and wallow.

This latest effort the band is a chance to spread their popularity out wider. While first album Fear of Falling Down, possibly didn’t garner them the recognition it deserved whereas Crystal Café, alongside continued touring in the US and UK, should boost their chances. A lot like witnessing an argument in a darkened room between Sonic Youth and The Pixies, this is an album that wears its discontent of society on its sleeve – Crystal Café is the sneer at the ridiculousness of a tiny biscotti on the side of your coffee.


Witching Waves at Pop Occulture

Witching Waves “The Threat”

New video from Happy Happy Birthday to Me’s Wtiching Waves. The video itself is a macabre nightmare, full of references to classic silent horror movies. The band comes off as a bouncy crunchy post-punk outfit with hooky 70’s death rock tinged choruses. Definitely worth a listen.


Witching Waves at Artrocker

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Witching Waves at Raised by Gypsies

I first heard Witching Waves because of a split cassette they did with As Ondas.   I remember this split cassette because not only did I really enjoy it but because someone randomly sent me a message on SoundCloud asking to buy it from me.  If I recall, the potential buyer didn’t live in the same country as me and only wanted to pay $20 shipped, so you know, I had to decline the offer by not responding.   For the record though, messaging me through SoundCloud is probably not the best way to try and buy a cassette I review.   The same can be said for leaving comments on reviews of cassettes.   But, of course, all of that implies that there *is* a good way to try and buy cassettes which I’ve reviewed and, well, for the most part I am not selling.   If a really good offer came along I’d be open to listening but $20 for a cassette when probably $15 of it is going to go to shipping… Yeah, get real.

If you were not lucky enough to fall in love with Witching Waves back when they did that split covers cassette then here is your chance to fall in love with them all over again.    With powerful guitars, Witching Waves can remind me of some wonderful combination of Metric and Dancehall Crashers, two of my all-time favorites.    Thoughts of my also recently reviewed cassette for Hearts & Tigers come to mind (They should totally tour together) and this is just intense.     There is a slower, classic instrumental interlude of notes and then it also can remind me of The Thermals with killer guitar riffs which bring out parts of secret spy theme songs and words such as “I don’t miss it”.

One thing that does happen during this cassette which I feel needs more attention is the countdown of “3-2-1 and back to Square One!”    Growing up, I was always watching PBS because of “Sesame Street” and what not, but there was also this show called “Square One” which made learning about math fun.  They even had another show within the show called “Mathnet”, which was like “Dragnet” but they used math to solve all of their cases.   The thing is, when I heard this line I thought about the show and looked it up but couldn’t find it on DVD.   Why would an educational show not have a DVD release?  Why would they want to deprive future generations of math knowledge?

It also brings me back to thinking of the connection between math and music.   Many musicians are excellent at math because a lot of music is math.  (Keeping the rhythm, reading sheet music, I mean, so much of it has to do with math)   I remember a specific segment from “Square One” about a song where we would “estimate with Kid N Play”.   Kid N Play were actually popular at the time because of the “House Party” movies and I even had a cassingle for “Ain’t Gonna Hurt Nobody”.   So that really hit home with me and always made me remember what it is to estimate.    Should there be a similar show out there right now?   Should I be creating YouTube videos with musicians about math?  Is that my purpose here?  Or should “Square One” just get a proper DVD release?

Listening to “Crystal Cafe” might not help you with your math skills but it will help you with your rocking out skills.    I certainly feel that a split cassette is a good introduction to a new artist and having that split full of covers is even better because you can hear someone apply their talent to the song of someone else (I mean, it takes a certain amount of pizzazz to pull off “Satisfaction” without feeling like another drunken night at karaoke)  That feels like the taste in a lot of ways though, such as the fact of whether or not you could enjoy more songs in the same realm but as originals.    Witching Waves, as this is their first full length I have heard, have proven that they don’t just have talent when it comes to covering songs but when writing their own as well.

I don’t know that I’ve ever heard an artist on a split covers cassette first and then their full length cassette next.   Obviously, As Ondas would be someone who could fall into this category now as well, but I also know that if any other band has gone down this path with me they certainly haven’t had their cassette propositioned on SoundCloud.    While this might be a unique story for me, perhaps it is not so much for you.   Perhaps you just put this one on to rock.   But that’s okay.   “Crystal Cafe” does certainly rock and you don’t really need a huge backstory or reason as to why you just need to pop it in, press play and turn it up loud.


Witching Waves at AllMusic

Witching Waves‘ first album, 2014’s Fear of Falling Down, was built around sprightly, noisy indie pop like that which the Vaselines used to play in the late ’80s. It was a good sound for the London trio, showing off their bouncy male/female vocals and youthful enthusiasm. A couple years later and they sound all grown up and tougher. Their second record, Crystal Cafe, is a heavy, pounding beast of a record. Emma Wigham sounds like she’s hitting her drums and cymbals with every last ounce of power in her body, Mark Jasper‘s guitars slice and tear at the air like angry animals, and the duo’s vocals have a nasty bite that wasn’t on the surface before. This kind of raging indie rock is also a good look for them. Listening to the album from beginning to end is like being pummeled by a very persistent street fighter; each song is like a blow to the head or a sock in the gut. The pain is tempered by very hooky choruses and the occasional track that lays off just enough so some oxygen can return to the lungs; a few even sound like twisted pop songs instead of songs that are trying to twist the listener’s head off. “Make It Up” has an almost polite beat and a singsong vocal part that’s hard to resist, and the album-ending “Flowers” dials the aggression way back in favor of an ominous hum that threatens violence but never delivers anything except a nice moody pop song. Despite these diversions — and a couple of short, arty instrumentals — the album thrives on the loud-to-the-point-of-feedback guitars, their burning energy, and the brute strength of the songs and sound. It’s been done before by loads of bands, butWitching Waves make a noise that feels fresh and not like a boring retread. Whatever made them mad and inspired them to crank up the guitars and passion, hopefully they bottled it for use on the next couple albums as well.


Witching Waves at Innocent Words

The winners want us to believe the world is beautiful, but Witching Waves has seen the world and knows this is a lie—that everything is lost and nothing is to be trusted. We (HHBTM Records) saw them open for Eureka California in the UK in late 2014 and couldn’t get the songs out of our head so we’ve jumped on the second album.

Emma Wigham, Mark Jasper, and Ed Shellard are Witching Waves, and they sound like exiles in their own country. And like all exiles, they know the only safety is in numbers, and the only comfort is in friends. Witching Waves come from a world of DIY and co-operation. Mark Jasper works at Sound Savers recording studio, a love of labor turned into a labor of love in one of the rapidly vanishing not-so-nice parts of London.

Every window is filled with witnesses. We watch the world go by, each of us observing and observed. You can hear them switching instruments, trying out roles.

Watching the world fall apart all around them, Witching Waves knows that being right is pointless—the television tells a hundred lies in the time it takes you to speak a single truth, and for every book you read, your neighbor reads none—but the only alternative is to participate in the slow silent psychic death that is mainstream 21st century life.

When ‘Seeing Double’ breaks down towards the end and Jasper starts screaming: See them on the street you ask them why / See them in the car you ask them why / See them on the stairs you say to them / What are you doing here why won’t you leave me alone? You know he’s not going to get any answers, but he isn’t there for answers he’s there for the screaming.

Because this music is rooted in UK DIY and the only alternative to the clean smiles of 21st century surface life is dirty frowns, you might hear the fuzz, the flattened shouts, and think you’ve heard it before, but then you notice the guitars at the end of ‘Red Light,’ how they swell & buzz like an attack of locusts, and the oceanic rise & fall of album closer ‘Flowers’ and you realize that in their endless explorations of black & white, WW has created a universe of infinite textures and shade.

Drowned In Sound calls WW’s sound ‘the satisfying juxtaposition of pop sensibility and tumult,’ but we like their sound because it leaves us pissed off, and unsatisfied—not with their music but with the world.

Witching Waves are locked in a london basement and hyperventilating, with nothing to keep them warm except their anger and their love. Listen close enough and you can hear the mildew grow. Listen even closer and you can hear it start to speak. It sounds a lot like you.



Witching Waves at Bloodbuzzed

Hailing from London, UK, the band is the creation of vocalist/drummer Emma Wigham (Weird Menace) and vocalist/guitarist Mark Jasper (Sound Savers Recording Studio), who joined forces in April 2013 with a first tape arriving at the end of that same year by Supplex Cassettes. Two more tapes followed, a split covers tape with band As Ondas in 2014, and the ‘Concrete‘ single tape that September, which anticipated the release of their first LP, ‘Fear of Falling Down‘, out in December, as well as the signature with the always recommendable Soft Power Records, and the addition of Ed Shellard at the bass expanding the band to a trio. A couple of limited cassettes, including another split, now with Rattle, whom with they toured, has now preceded the arrival of sophomore album ‘Crystal Cafe‘, out just now on Soft Power and our dear friends HHBTM Records. You should check it immediately, because their music is a sonic blast. Early Cure, Wire, Sonic Youth, Buzzcocks,Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Pylon… you name it. Waves of noise, echoes of punk, a relentless urgency, a threatening edge, a fearless attitude, a mystery hiding in fuzz. An early MUST of 2016.


Witching Waves at Narc

Barely a year after their excellent debut Fear Of Falling Down, it’s a pleasant surprise to see Witching Waves back already.

Like so many of the best second albums, Crystal Café takes what made its predecessor great, making it even more vivid and more vital. It’s noticeably louder than the debut, but that’s not all there is to it.

From the jittery buzzsaw riffs to the desperate urgency of the vocals, it’s packed with nervous energy and the songs feel somehow fuller and more three dimensional. Seeing Double, for example, is near perfect; a glorious collision of a classic pop song and heady noise.

Crystal Café is a wonderful record and all the more enviable for how effortless it seems.


Witching Waves at Eardrums Music

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Witching Waves at Still Weird

Imagine a cross between The Cure circa Seventeen Seconds and the more melodic side of The Pixies, and you’ll have something close to the sound of London trio Witching Waves who are releasing their second album Crystal Cafe later this month.