Esben and the Witch Violet Cries

Esben and the Witch Violet Cries
The sad truth is that any new artist with haunting female vocals, looming soundscapes and a melancholy thematic will be lumped in with this new goth scene some journalists are trying to get off the ground. Just ask Zola Jesus. Brighton, England's Esben and the Witch, unfortunately, aren't getting much help from their label, Matador, who have described the band's sound as "nightmare pop." Violet Cries certainly has the characteristics to assume the trio have been dusting off their This Mortal Coil LPs. Rachel Davies has a devastating tone to her voice that paint her as some fallen angel reciting poetic gold on "Light Streams" like, "This place is a wasteland/Your wings are mine/The lives move through the ether." But the music belongs as much to Daniel Copeman and Thomas Fisher, whose mastering of electronics and guitar-scapes take responsibility for constructing the sounds that channel Davies' expression. "Marching Song" bubbles to a seething point that crescendos into a skyscraping wall of sound, and "Eumenides" quickly oscillates into cacophony before building to a storm of rhythmic fury. Like their namesake, Esben and the Witch have a fairytale quality to their music that is both creepy and picturesque, keeping you spellbound until the final reverberating note of finale "Swans" fades to black. (Matador)