Esben and the Witch – Wash the Sins Not Only the Face

Esben and the Witch’s sophomore album, Wash the Sins Not Only the Face, was an album I was not expecting much from, but I was pleasantly surprised. Esben and the Witch music has elements of shoegaze, dream pop, and plenty of ethereal female vocals by Rachel Davies. Thomas Fisher is on guitar and Daniel Copeman on drums/electronics. Musically, Esben and the Witch is similar to the band Warpaint, but Wash the Sins Not Only the Face has more shoegaze elements and generally darker in mood. Slow Wave is representative of the sound on this album. It has a nice fast guitar melody and a dreamy atmosphere augmented by Davies’ vocals. When That Head Splits has more of a post-punk vibe due to the drumming style. Shimmering, on the other hand, is a slower, more ethereal track. Putting Down the Prey is another good track that has a feeling of hopelessness and of being trapped. Smashed To Pieces In The Still Of The Night closes the album, which is an ominous and tense song that captures the mood of the album. Wash the Sins Not Only the Face is a pretty solid album. It is not a masterpiece, but a good album in a genre that probably has many bands with a similar sound. However, Esben and the Witch may have that little something to stand out from the crowd. The songs are generally similar, but it is the mood and the dreamy atmosphere that make the album an enjoyable listen. This is an album for those interested in shoegaze-related music, or also for fans of bands like Warpaint.

Genre: Shoegaze, Dream Pop
Country: England
Label: Matador Records
Release: January 21, 2013

1. Iceland Spar
2. Slow Wave
3. When That Head Splits
4. Shimmering
5. Deathwaltz
6. Yellow Wood
7. Despair
8. Putting Down The Prey
9. The Fall Of Glorieta Mountain
10. Smashed To Pieces In The Still Of The Night

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