Witches seem to have a hold on the imagination of many British artists at the moment, from dark ambient practitioners Demdike Stare (Demdike was the most famous of the Pendle witches) to The Eccentronic Research Council, the collective fronted by Maxine Peake of Shameless, who evoke the nefarious goings on of the 16th-century crones of Lancashire. Adding to the brew is Darren Hayman, formerly of Hefner, whose final album in a trilogy devoted to the county of Essex, The Violence, is about the witch trials of the 17th century. These 20 bold tracks take the familiar Hayman template of slightly ramshackle folk and build on it with pastoral instrumentation: banjo, clarinet and lilting guitar. But what makes this Hayman’s finest solo album yet is his knack for a tune. “Impossible Times” is a history lesson set to a jaunty ox-cart rattle, while the yearning “Vinegar Tom” is reminiscent of Mercury Rev in its otherworldly sparkle. “Elizabeth Clarke” is the stand-out track, its jolly trumpet at odds with the recording of a creaking hangman’s rope. And as lines in a love song go, “Who will tug on my ankles when I’m swinging?” (as was customary to ensure a quick death) takes some beating.
By Maria Sherman on 10.24.14 in Features
Maria Sherman accompanies the UK band on their tour of the states.
By John Everhart on 08.12.14 in Reviews
Since Comet Gain's inception more than 20 years ago, frontman David Feck has found inspiration in outsiders, the iconoclastic artists who perhaps took a fleeting shot at success and missed, or maybe never even tried very...
By Amelia Raitt on 09.01.10 in Reviews
It seems like no band has more fun indulging in retro cool than the Pipettes. Since the time their debut album was released in 2006, the blonde-brunette-redhead trio has shrunken to a girl group of only two. But Earth vs...
By Laura Leebove on 06.07.10 in Reviews
The self-titled debut from London-based quartet Allo Darlin' is about falling in love — on dancefloors and at parties, on Ferris wheels and in the kitchen — and the fluttering, anxious feeling of wonderin...