Posts Tagged ‘vulture hound’

Witching Waves at Vulture Hound

If there was an award for ‘most appropriately named up-and-coming band of 2016’ Witching Waves would definitely a strong contender for the winner. Moody, atmospheric and haunting are the words you’re probably going to read in every review of this album in the coming few weeks. I’ve been lucky enough to have caught this band at least one around London, and so this album has been one I’ve been really looking forward to finally hearing. I’ll add that they are a real treat live, and though sounding far less fuzzy on records. Crystal Café does an incredible job of translating all that incredible vibe into a collection of tracks which really are pretty exciting.

Crystal Café leans heavily towards that dark side of post-punk, but with the sensibilities of that millennial emo. I’m sort of drawn towards pointing other listeners towards some of the lesser known side of the Factory Records collection, like Crispy Ambulance, throwing in your now standard gloomy London shoegaze influences, and goth rock. Some might think of it as a tad odd to start attaching abstract descriptions to their reviews, but it’s kind of a grey listen, but not in a depressing or dull way. More in a ‘you’re walking through a misty forest just after sunset’ sort of way. Drifting between that heavy psych, you have tracks like ‘Red Light’, which balance out the more vicious aggression of ‘Pitiless’, and the endless harmonic droning vocals that evokes a sort of ironic boredom and cynicism towards its subject. I’m not sure they’re really covering any new territory per se, but they are exploring it in a way that’s enjoyable to listen to, and cherry picking tones that are only just starting to come into fashion at the moment.

Perhaps the most notably are its brilliant instrumental tracks. I’d call them interludes, but they are too long to really be phrased as thus. It’s not often that a less established band throw in purely instrumental tracks on a debut… unless that’s sort of their thing because they are an experimental electronic prog outfit or something (I’m making this up, but I’m sure it exists). In light of ‘recent events’ aka the lost of David Bowie, it feels appropriate to say that it certainly give it that sort of Berlin Era feel. In fact rather than just feed the listener with mindless experiments, they serve as a taster for the rest if the album, a series of repeated motifs to linger in the mind. Honestly, there’s not enough of it in modern music, and if that’s what 2016 is going to bring us, or more importantly, if that’s what Witching Waves are going to bring us, I am very happy to have heard this album and praise it early on.

Crystal Café out on the 26th of February on Soft Power (UK) and Happy Happy Birthday To Me (US).

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Tunabunny at Vulture Hound

When I write an album review I try to look for some over arching theme. Something that ties the album together, that makes it more than the disparate collection of singles are forefathers called albums. If I can find something it means I can write something more unified, more than just a series of track review. In Tunabunny’s Kingdom Technology I thought I’d found this mythical thing in its lo-fi ness, especially when juxtaposed with the album’s title. Kingdom Technology wouldn’t be an awful name for the age in which most of Planet Earth’s human population finds itself. We rely on technology at every level in our life (and more loosely maybe we always have), even to pretend that we don’t have said technology.

I don’t know an enormous amount about music production, and truthfully had I not read the albums press release I’d probably have contentedly described it as a ‘lo-fi’ without any of this fuss. I might even have compared it to the likes of Guided by Voices to really drive my point in. Aesthetically this IS lo-fi music, the tracks don’t sound polished, there are incongruous samples, the sort of music being played is recognisably ‘lo-fi’ sounding. So why am I left feeling so unsatisfied? The band are not hiding anything, they are proud of their creation and indeed trumpet how they’ve made it sounds and of the inherent strangeness of a digitally recorded record sounding analogue.

They are also very much in the spirit of lo-fi, the album certainly subscribes to a DIY philosophy (in that they recorded the album on something fished out of a bin) but that they thought the aesthetical aspect of lo-fi was so important they saw fit to artificially create the sound (and therefore the feel) is curious. Perhaps it’s a desire to pursue some sort of needless authenticity?

It’s easy to be cynical about this sort of thing, especially as we’re currently in something of a golden age of artificially filtered photographs but the band’s sincerity suggests otherwise, in fact I’m inclined towards the view that it was purely an aesthetic decision, in reaction to certain norms within the musical landscape. I think, even without its artificial aspects Kingdom Technology would still somehow be ‘lo-fi’ especially in that its 14 tracks are incredibly varied and it has the fast and loose feel of a demo.

The album is merely symptomatic of a wider trend, and not just in music. InKingdom Technology we use what tools we have to fake our way to a socially accepted perfection, except like Tunabunny we’re not always faking.

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