Dark blues. It’s amazing how many genre names we come up with! Still, this one was intriguing enough for me to give All Them Witches a listen. That was a few years back and since then I have become a fan of this Nashville band. And that’s the other thing – my association with Nashville is country music and so the Witches’ heavier music came as a surprise.
I had heard of them before but it was with 2015’s “Dying Surfer Meets His Maker” that I started listening to their music. The album starts with the sedate “Call Me Star”. I say sedate but despite its outward calm, it gives an inkling, as it makes its slow progress, of what’s to follow. It gives you a sense of the band’s Nashville upbringing yet you get a mild suspicion of the heavy, dark, delicious witchery that envelops the album. “El Centro” turns that suspicion straight away into certain knowledge as it breaks into a heavy instrumental jam with mesmeric relentlessness. This song – just the second that I had listened to from the band at that point when I first heard it – got me imagining how good they could potentially be playing live. And just when you think it’s all heavy, dark music, out come such a calm melody as “Mellowing” or the moody, slow-burn of “This Is Where It All Falls Apart”. “Dying Surfer…” has a surprising number of instrumentals; surprising given the rich quality of Charles Michael Parks Jr.’s voice. Fortunately it is a surprise of the pleasant kind because it is very clear that the band members, including Parks Jr. who is also the bass guitarist, are very proficient both with their chosen instruments and composing intricate pieces that keep your interest and attention from waning.
You hear influences of blues, psychedelic and classic rock here but what makes the Witches’ an outstanding band is that they blend it all with their own particular ingredients to brew a special magic potion. There is a familiarity that you feel but at no point does it sound jaded. This is layered, intelligent music that is crafted very well and executed with production of a high calibre.