- by Kevin Orton Rating:9 Release Date:2016-09-30 Label: Heavenly
Something wicked this way comes... My, my what have the Wytches boiled up in their cauldron this time? Let's see...Seething rage...Sneering sarcasm...Unbridled nihilism... And what's this? A dash of late night ennui?
Imagine a pissed off Perry Ferrell fronting the Stooges, and you might come close to describing the lacerating vocals of Kristian Bell. None of which accounts for the last three tracks when he suddenly sounds like a completely different vocalist. One that could easily be taken for the bastard son of The Only One’s Peter Perrett. It’s an odd pairing of 2 different styles and yet both seem right at home with each other.
After a brief ‘Intro’, the band launch in the jeering ‘C Side’. An irresistible riff dances around you as Bell shreds his chords raw. Musically, I hear a mixed gumbo of Pussy Galore, Royal Trux and Sabbath. You can also toss a healthy dose of The Birthday Party in into the vat as well. Top it all off with Pixies dust. Clearly, these boys have been doing their homework.
‘Can’t Face It’ is a blistering dark night of the soul, while it’s follow up, ‘A Feeling We Get’ is a bottomless pit despair. “Sometimes it comes and goes and then I know, then I know where’s its gone.” One could call it a ballad if it weren’t so ill tempered.
‘Throned’ is the centerpiece of All Your Happy Life. A furious display of this band’s searing dynamics and snarling moodiness. ‘Ghost House’ by contrast does its best to beat the listener into a quivering pulp. Truth be told, there aren’t many bands around with this genuine kind of intensity. Many manufacture it, but here its coming from a very real place. And in a perverse way, its fun.
‘Bone Weary’ is a rage, rage, rage into that dark night only to have ‘Crest of Death’ slam down like a bloody hammer, Bell growling, “Never gonna find your way out.” It’s the quintessential Wytches song, if you ask me. One that smells like a dank basement with some razor sharp hooks and an unspoken Pop sensibility.
Then dramatically, Bell shifts gears vocally. As mentioned, I hear a big Peter Perrett influence. Suddenly, it's the Only Ones meets Captain Beefheart. ‘Dumb-Fill’ by contrast manages to be both jaunty and menacing. Then perversely the band brings it all ‘Home’ with a morose love ballad. “You’re out of this world, you’re taking me home” Bells sings.
So while the ironically entitled, All Your Happy Life kicks off with the wail of banshee and ends in a tortured whisper, production-wise, its beautifully raw and compellingly played. It all sounds like its going to fall apart at any moment. It shouldn’t, but it works. Come hear them rocking out in 5th circle of hell. All hail the Wytches.