“Of places we've known, all in greys of their own I am sure that our ghosts live in each moment kept, seen through eyes made of film and pulled out, helping ease the way through” – Thought Forms, Silver Kiss
I still listen to Thought Forms' Ghost Mountain on a regular basis, even though it was released months ago, and I still love it as much as I did back then. It’s one of those albums that soothes and awakens me, lifts me up and brings me down after shaking me to the core. I have also been a big fan of Esben and the Witch ever since I heard Marching Song back in 2010, which lead me to downloading their most recent release while on holiday in Jamaica last year, as I didn’t think I could wait a few days until I got home… And yes, there was something very eerie and magical about listening to Wash the Sins Not Only the Face just after having swum in a effervescent lagoon under the stars.
So imagine my happiness when I heard that Thought Forms and Esben and the Witch would be releasing a split record together on April 7th. Kind of makes up for the fact that they didn’t extend their tour together last year and bring it to the States, directly to my living room. OK, not all dreams can come true, but this split really does make up for a lot of that! Artists don’t make enough splits anymore. There is nothing more exciting than buying something that two of your favourite bands and artists have collaborated on together, especially if you are anxiously awaiting new material from one or the other, or both. It’s also just as exciting when you buy a split because you know one of the artists, and discover another artist who is right up your street. I love splits and b-sides and singles, just because they contain material that you would never hear if you only bought the album. And I also feel like they give artists an outlet to branch out, maybe try something a little different. In any case, this one really made my month, and I have listened to it more than anything else that I have been listening to since the beginning of the year.
“Distracted by the noise that masks the sound of violence
and blinded by the glare that hides as every scream is silenced
the vice that holds the hand that feeds the mouth that spews the lies that shift the blame” – Thought Forms, Sound of Violence
Thought Forms kicks off the split with four equally strong tracks. I’ve said it before, but they seriously just grow and grow all of the time. Over the years their sound has always been Thought Forms, but they have really come into their own and are super confidence in expanding their sound and their soaringly beautiful layers of music and lyrics. While Your Bones is haunting, moving from clear and ethereal thanks to Charlie Romijn’s strong vocals to distorted and edgy due to the guitars, reminding me of caves and dark places and 5am chats and long nights, Silver Kiss is like an obscure lullaby that you want to listen to and sing while walking along the beach in the winter. Sound of Violence has Deej Dhariwal and Charlie Romijn harmonizing with their voices and their instruments while Guy Metcalfe proves yet again what a talented drummer he is. Juxtapositions, layers and layers and more layers to peel away and discover more sounds and more feelings; and then there is For the Moving Stars, where you want to be when you close your eyes and hear this song.
“And I’ve fire in my heart and it’s dogged and pure” – Esben and the Witch, No Dog
Esben and the Witch take over the second half of the split, starting with No Dog, pulling you straight into a rapid march with the awesome drums courtesy of Daniel Copeman. I literally want to be inside this music. When the drums die down and you are left with Rachel Davies beautiful voice and the eeriness of Thomas Fisher’s guitar you just want to swim in the sound, and get caught right back up in the march again as soon as the drums spring back into gear. I feel like the wolf in the song, all powerful and all beautiful, running through the forest and not letting anything take my freedom away from me. Butoh is like a furious whirlwind, picking you up and throwing you around, letting you breathe for a few seconds before grabbing you again, beating a path for you to follow, away from the crowd, somewhere different, somewhere better. You don’t want it to end.
This combination of bands and songs works seamlessly together, and it also makes me happy that both bands have amazingly talented women in their midst, women who don’t seem to be afraid of anything. Out on April 7th on Invada Records, definitely one that is not to be missed!
Esben and the Witch