When I learn of a band influenced by Sonic Youth and The Cure, then as a fan of those bands I am going to be intrigued. When I think more about this I begin to wonder which era of each of these bands will have had most influence on London trio Witching Waves. Both have vast back catalogues so will they be inspired by my favourite incarnation of these groups, or the most commercial, or the most experimental?
As we all know, a music writer who ‘thinks’ is quite dangerous. It’s the music that should influence thinking and therefore the writing, and I was delighted that within the first few songs on their new album, Crystal Cafe I could hear the wild, unorthodox guitars of Teenage Daydream-era Sonic Youth on top of that darker, post-punk, Cure-like bass.
There’s a freshness in the songs with the alternating of male/female vocal duties. While they wear their main influences on their sleeve throughout, there is more to the songs than just this type of sound…
“Seeing double” is unpredictable, and though it recalls (Sonic Youth’s) “Tony’s Trip”, it also spirals into a grungey, almost Phil Spector-like chorus.
“Pitiless” has that 80s phased guitar sound, but it grows into a song with elements of shoegaze and that Breeders style pop-vocal-with-attitude.
Each song has many fragments, which are often flawed but always interesting, from the discord at the tail end of “Make it Up” to the drowning sea of drama in instrumental “Storm”.
Witching Waves create a nice mess… A noise that is unsettling yet simple, mixing mania with mainstream.
Crystal Cafe is out now