Whether dark and brittle in “Mooncold,” musty and melancholic in “Sensation,” glowing and understatedly cathartic in “Feeling of Relief” or surprisingly sharp and evocative in ways lyrics never could be in “Out of Reach,” the string play that listeners can expect to encounter in Witch’s Wall’s new self-titled LP is nothing less than surreally spellbinding and at the foundation of every brilliant moment the album has to offer. Witch’s Wall hold nothing back from us on the instrumental nor lyrical fronts in this debut release, but in terms of sheer sonic depth, I think the fretwork that they submit in these eight exquisitely string-powered compositions stands out as some of the most profoundly intriguing that I’ve had the chance to review in the year 2020.
The title cut, “Heaven’s Break” and “Lady Love” are quite aesthetically contrasting on the surface, but amidst the recently-trending “back to basics” movement in alternative rock, the experimental design of this trio of tracks definitely feels like a breath of fresh air in the middle of a smog cloud. There’s a certain amount of minimalism in the overall approach that Witch’s Wall took to this LP’s framework, but in the grander scheme of things, I would be more inclined to align their sound with the surrealism scene (ala Timber, Chords of Eve, Gallery 47) than I would the stripped-down style of fourth wave indie rock that was gaining traction on the mainstream side of the dial towards the end of the 2010’s.
There’s a subtle muscularity to the bassline in “Feeling of Relief,” “Heaven’s Break” and the lush “Field Walk” that definitely emphasizes the rich tonality of the guitar parts in each of these songs, and though I’m sure it wasn’t the only thing they were considering when creating this record, I think it’s pretty obvious – even to the most novice of amateur critics out there – just how important intricacies like this were to Witch’s Wall when they were producing this album. This entire tracklist is comprised of seriously multilayered stuff, but even at its most decadent in stylization, there’s scarcely a moment in Witch’s Wall that feels even the least bit self-indulgent from a compositional perspective (which is hard to do when you’re experimenting on the level these guys are here).
I was not aware of Witch’s Wall prior to hearing this album for the first time just recently, but after getting immersed in their rookie release, I’m definitely going to follow their output from here on out. There are a lot of ways that this album could be interpreted, but above all else, I think it exhibits a multidimensionality on the part of this band that could lead to some really big breakthroughs for their work both in and outside of the studio. I highly recommend indie rock aficionados everywhere give Witch’s Wall a spin before the spring season is over, as it’s definitely one of the most intriguingly captivating LPs of its kind that I’ve heard out of an underground act in the month of April thus far.
by Bethany Page