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.