Release Date: Sep 30, 2016
Record label: Heavenly
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
It’s been impossible, at any time in the previous three years or so, to attend a gig anywhere in the UK and not see at least one person wearing a Wytches t-shirt. That’s no surprise, given the way 2014 debut ‘Annabel Dream Reader’ and its insta-classic singles resonated far further than the fuzzy indie world from which they originated. It’s possible, then, that follow-up ‘All Your Happy Life’ could prove divisive; if their debut was ‘a little bit goth’, LP2 has grabbed all the black hair dye Camden Market could ever sell, stockpiled pairs of New Rock boots, and wiped a whole branch of Boots of its kohl eyeliner.
Exactly two years ago, I wrote about The Wytches' debut album Annabel Dream Reader - a record that certainly lived up to expectations. I also saw them live for the very first time that year, which cemented them as one of my favourite bands. Needless to say, it wasn't long before I craved more. em>All Your Happy Life was announced in a more low-key fashion than its predecessor; sure, the Brighton trio had been touring a lot (like they always do), even releasing a couple of EPs along the way (2015's Thunder Lizard's Reprieve and this year's Home Recordings), but the prospect of a proper follower to Annabel Dream Reader still seemed like a distant dream.
U.K. garage trio the Wytches follow up their ramshackle debut with All Your Happy Life, a second dark dosage of sprawling lo-fi rock, this time co-produced by Jim Sclavunos, Luke Oldfield, and the band itself. Propelled by singer/guitarist Kristian Bell's choked and ragged bellows, the Wytches' doomy racket is at times off-putting, with the mighty "Ghost House" and "Crest of Death" exploring the deeper end of their nihilistic psych-indebted grooves.
Brighton’s The Wytches have always dabbled in the darker outskirts of music. Even their early fresh-faced singles, riff-heavy as they were, could veer off into bursts of noise and seemingly real anger that unnerved the listener. On their second album those depths are plumbed, but not in a traditionally heavy way. As a general rule, explicit riffage is replaced by more sophisticated song structures, periods of strobe-like drum fills and menacing pauses.
Despite a jam-packed September, I can't help noticing how Carl and I ended up a little bit underwhelmed with many of the albums we reviewed this month. But since both of us got to cover most of our favorites on full-length form, it only makes sense this month's choices are mostly solid, but ….
In June, Brighton-based bruisers The Wytches released Home Recordings, a scrappy seven-track EP that felt like a way of creating buzz around a forthcoming new album. Surprisingly, All Your Happy Life - the band’s follow-up to 2014’s polished debut album Annabel Dream Reader – sounds just as lo-fi as their stop-gap collection of bedroom demos. The band, who have recently expanded to a fully-fledged four-piece following the addition of keyboardist and guitarist Mark Breed, have all but completely stripped themselves of the dark melodic nature that defined their debut album - Annabel Dream Reader was a frantic hodge-podge of heartbreak and occasional optimism, whereas .