Witch Witch

Witch are the much-heralded side project of J. Mascis and long-time collaborator David Sweetapple, with Kyle Thomas and Asa Irons of New England folk unit Feathers rounding out the group. That said, these disparate credentials don’t add up to any likeness of what Witch have in store. The quartet’s debut album is a ball’s out stoner rock record, closer in line to Fu Manchu and the first two Queens of the Stone Age records. The seven tracks here are raucous and fun, if at times an uneven version of the stoner rock sub-genre, though they rarely step out into more adventurous terrain. The eight-minute opener "Seer” is as anthem-ready and riff-heavy as anything the stoner rock has ever offered up, and worth the price of admission alone. However, the rest of the album settles into the tropes of an expected formula. J. Mascis’s drumming, much like Josh Homme’s work in Eagles of Death Metal, adequately gets the job done; most of the time it’s been buried deep in the mix. Nevertheless, Witch play the stoner rock card well. For any Mascis enthusiasts out there, this album constitutes his best new work since the circa-2000 More Light album with the Fog. (Tee Pee)