Esben and the Witch, “The Jungle”

Louis Pattison

By Louis Pattison

International Editor
on 09.04.14 in Listen to This

It takes guts to tease your new record with its 14-minute centerpiece, but Brighton’s Esben and the Witch are not the sort of band to flinch easily. Since leaving Matador to found their own Nostromo Records, the trio have dragged their sound into darker, more barren territory. “The Jungle” begins as a slow, windswept ascent under turbulent skies, powered forth by grizzled doom riffs and a stoic plod of toms. But then, at the summit, a lonely trumpet cuts through the gloom like an elegy for the fallen, and in the final four minutes, vocalist Rachel Davies steps to the microphone to deliver an infernal drama that’s utterly gripping.