Release Date: Apr 22, 2014
Record label: Invada
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
As first demonstrated during last year’s joint headlining tour, Esben And The Witch and Thought Forms seem to like each other. A union which begat sharing a stage in 2013 now begets the sharing of an actual vinyl. And isn’t it nice when people just get along. Besides, as unions go, this seems a furtive one, born of common creative urges, not one forged in the fires of hell – or McBusted, as it’s sometimes known.
The split record is something that hearkens back to a DIY Golden Age of punk and indie, one that is becoming an increasing influence on the contemporary scene. With new(ish) labels such as Bristol's Invada and Howling Owl Records, Brighton's Faux Discx and a myriad of others handling work of a specifically Eighties/Nineties ilk, it is welcome and apt move that a new split LP has come from Thought Forms and Esben and The Witch - both bands with a certain DIY ethic rooted in the goth, shoegaze and no-wave of yesteryear. Out on Geoff Barrow's Invada Records, this mini-album is one of incessant intellectual bleakness, with both bands dabbling in ethereal, foggy texture broken by doom-laden sonic barrage.
This joint release from touring partners Esben And The Witch and Thought Forms arrives on shiny silver vinyl, fitting for two trios whose sinister rock nightmares mirror each other perfectly. Building on last year’s stormy ‘Ghost Mountain’, Thought Forms’ side peaks with the driving Sonic Youth riffs of ‘Sound Of Violence’ and the dizzying My Bloody Valentine lurch of ‘For The Moving Stars’. The pick of Esben’s two songs, the murderous ‘No Dog’, finds Rachel Davies threatening to “Spring for your throat, break open your bones” to a gale of pummelling drums and howling guitar.
Both Wiltshire’s Thought Forms and Brighton’s Esben and the Witch hit career highs just last year with the woozy, micro-sleep twitchy Ghost Mountain and the bruise-black and blue Wash the Sins Not Only the Face respectively. That both bands live, musically at least, more in the 90s than in whatever this decade would be termed (“the teenies” be fucked) seems to hinder neither to any great extent, both sounding like revisions of past heroes, margins of the original texts filled with interesting echoes and additional reflection rather than the straight facsimile of the same peacocked by the aptly monikered Yuck. Quick as you like comes this brief split 6-tracker (four for Deej Dhariwal’s crew, two more expansive cuts from Rachel Davies’) we get an snapshot insight into how each band works, a microcosm of the very different universes they attempt to create and inhabit, a sojourn into two sister worlds that share as many similarities as disparities.