As the seasons change, so do my musical listening pleasures. Summery pop vibes just won’t do it for me throughout the long, cold and dark autumn and winter seasons in Portland. Rather, those are the times that necessitate more aggressive, heavy and loud rock ‘n roll to fill the void. So it is to my pleasant surprise, and with rather convenient timing, that such a band as The Wytches should stumble upon my radar.
This relatively infant power trio, hailing from Brighton, England, has obvious roots in post-hardcore/punk music and at least a bachelor’s degree in garage rock with a major in ’90s grunge and minors in ’60s psych and surf rock. Three years of disciplined autonomy, DIY tours, and self releases have lead up to The Wytches debut LP, Annabel Dream Reader, which grabbed the attention of Partisan Records in the US and Heavenly Recordings in the UK. Recorded on the 8-track analogue gear at ToeRag Studios in London—the very birthplace of the White Stripes critically acclaimed fourth release, Elephant—the album does have some killer tone and production quality.
There are numerous influential elements audibly at play on Annabel Dream Reader. Singer/guitarist/organist Kristian Bell’s guttural vociferations cover the gamut, with Cobain-esque shrieks on “Digsaw,” poetic warbling similar to MeWithoutYou’s Aaron Weiss on “Beehive Queen,” and at times, similarly irritating whiny mews as Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst on “Weights and Ties” and “Track 13.” Instrumentally, the record strikes more of a sweet chord for my intrinsically heavier taste. Layered in heavy fuzz and with a penchant for attacking his tremolo bar, it seems as though Bell’s guitar work is well studied in the sounds of most of Ty Segall’s projects, or even Portland psych rippers Wooden Indian Burial Ground—which is always a good thing in my book. Catch The Wytches at Doug Fir Lounge November 6 before they hop on their brooms and fly back to the UK. »
– Travis Leipzig