Album Review: The Wytches – All Your Happy Life

By on Wednesday, 2nd November 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

From the ominous and foreboding first track ‘Intro’, you get the feeling the second round from Brighton-based group The Wytches is made to both please you and control you. ‘All Your Happy Life’ sees the band stepping forward slightly, away from the lo-fi and ravenous sound that pushed them this far. Instead, their approach has a fuller body that shows the now four-piece aren’t afraid of stepping out of their already laid footprints.

The second track and early single ‘C-Side’ instantly carries through on the haunting atmosphere created by its predecessor with an attacking instrumental opening, but it’s on the chorus where everything falls into place. With a riff that completely absorbs you, it shows The Wytches don’t only have a lo-fi gift but they can create a melody capable of stalking you.

Next up is ‘Can’t Face It’, which goes on the offence with absolute savage aggression. From the moment it strikes, it remains unrelenting. The vocals have a yearning howl that surrenders briefly during the chorus, only to come back in force. Changing up proceedings again, ‘A Feeling We Get’ is a wandering, slow track that relies upon the tender – by Wytches standards – instrumentation to give it an atmosphere. The guitars are delicate enough so you can hear the small intricacies, twinned with a slow run of notes to highlight them, is it builds creating an almost faded romantic style.

With the addition of Mark Breed on organ, their sound is fully crafted to fit The Wytches moniker. At times, they come across as haunting psychedelic, as if the instrumentation is being lost in itself, such as on consecutive tracks ‘Throned’ and ‘Ghost House’. The former is another wanderer that gradually builds into itself and gets lost in the crescendo led by a psychedelic guitar solo, whilst the latter goes into a cyclical pattern that over the course of its 5 and a half minute running time builds into an aggressor.

The momentum of the album doesn’t particularly change, nor does its direction. However, with pleasing melodies and a raw sound that mirrors early punk, it’s a winning combination that doesn’t get particularly tiresome. Full savagery is reached in ‘Crest of Death’, a stomping and screaming track with a rolling bass line thick enough to create a heavy undertone. The riffs are as thick and heavy as ever, particularly on ‘A Dead Night Again’, another solemn track with its heart lying in the melody, while the lyrics concern the rock ‘n’ roll standard of heartbreak but somehow, they manage to spin it with a haunting angle.

‘Dumb Fill’ features one of the more interesting moments in the final third of the album. The song builds to a repetitive state before falling away, leaving a screeching and searing guitar line holding your focus until the rest of the band gradually comes back in resuming normal service as nothing ever happened. The most evident aspect of this second record is how much The Wytches have grown and created a fuller sound. This is thanks to some help in the form of Jim Sclavunos, who you may know as the drummer for Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds on production duties.

Finale ‘Home’ favours more of the slow and casual sound than the aggression found in the earlier half of the album. It’s a pleasant enough way to see the album out, opting for a more relaxed and drawn out approach. Never really reaching a climax, it simply teeters along on its own, gathering no real pace or momentum, until it falls away and leaves the album completed.

There is definite strength to this second helping from the Brighton-based quartet, though it mainly comes in its savageness rather than the more reserved, slower moments. The Wytches have created a sound that not only thrives on the lo-fi, but manages to at times cross into gothic/haunting territory. Another win for the burgeoning UK DIY scene.

8/10

The sophomore album from Brighton band The Wytches, ‘All Your Happy Life’, is out now on Heavenly Recordings. They’re currently on tour in the UK; check out the list of tour dates here. For more on The Wytches on TGTF, follow this link.

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