The Wytches All Your Happy Life Heavenly Recordings
The Wytches’ second LP opens with the starched remains of a gramophone record that strains with nostalgia. On first glance, it seems the surf-doom quartet are still hopelessly enamoured with the pomp of goth past they wrestled with on their debut album, 2014’s Annabel Dream Reader.
However, album opener proper and lead single C-Side quickly reminds how the trio ascended Brighton’s tight-knit garage rock circles: sparkling with the same technical talent and breadth of imagination that’s made far more practiced psych compatriots like Thee Oh Sees, Tame Impala and Ty Segall so enduring.
Showing further promise still, next track Can’t Face It writhes with lyrical revulsion before melting into spooky surf riffs and a doom-laden shouted chorus. Knocked into a blender, it’s these elements that would typify the best of the trio’s material, and later tracks Throned and Ghost House also meld into a freakishly good double-header of the same demonic punchiness the band do so well.
However, when paired with the dewy-eyed wistfulness songwriter and lead singer Kristian Bell was unable to avoid throughout Annabel Dream Reader, these ideas fail to land. The last three tracks sound dated and misplaced, and it’s a shame that syrupy lyrics and clanging piano parts are the last reminder of what is otherwise a leap forward for a band that’s still dripping with potential.