The band name is fitting – Wytches create a mystical, seedy, dimly lit landscape dotted with gypsies, grave-dwellers and girls shaking bibles like pendulums. Annabel Dream Reader feels like the soundtrack to a Tarantino film, from the suspenseful "Robe for Juda" and the quivering, paced solos of "Gravedweller" to the wonky guitar on the sauntering and slithering "Fragile Male for Sale." The trashy-sounding opening that settles into an impressive groove on "Burn Out The Bruise" and the slick "Part Time Model" round out the picture.
Kristian Bell is a worn down, sensitive soul tormented by the demons of daily life. There is real desperation on the heart-wrenching and primitive "Summer Again" and "Wide at Midnight," on which Bell sounds like a gravel-throated Jack White screaming (almost overdramatically) as if on the verge of death. Conversely, the pared-down ballad "Track 13," with its line "Every day is a bad dream or a story to sell" harkens to the Libertines and Elliott Smith. (Dine Alone)