Tag Archives: noise pop

Esben and the Witch – Wash The Sins Not Only The Face (2013)

Esben and the Witch - Wash The Sins Not Only The Face (2013)

Esben and the Witch are nominally a goth pop band from Brighton, UK, named after a Danish faerie tale. Forming in 2008, this is their second album.

Upon putting on this album, my immediate thoughts are towards goth music, but instead towards a related style: dream/noise pop. Opener, Iceland Spar starts with big fuzzy guitars, into dream-pop female vocals and back into fuzz, in a way so typified by The Jesus and Mary Chain, especially on Pyschocandy (1985).

Slow Wave further shows the dream-pop angle, jangly guitars and echoey dreamy vocals, while When That Head Splits is a more modern but darker pop outing, with a somewhat marching drum snare. I get a sense of incorporation of traditional folk at times on this album; not so much in the music, but in the vocal melodies. Deathwaltz is a denser number, which is starkly different to the following track, Yellow Wood, which is, for its most part, a sparse dreamscape. Despair is back to the noisier sound with a metallic twang to the guitars, and the album finishes strongly with the bleak Smashed To Pieces In The Still Of The Night.

Overall, it’s a dense hazy dreamy noise pop record. Not everything on here is to my taste, but I certainly enjoyed some of it. I’m afraid I don’t get the goth pop tag applied to them; sure, some of the song titles are a bit macabre, but this album is definitely more shoe-gaze and dream/noise pop, with jangly guitars contrasting fuzzy guitars and ethereal reverberating vocals.

Favourite tracks: When The Head Splits, Deathwaltz, Smashed To Pieces In The Still Of The Night

Spotify link: Esben and the Witch – Wash the Sins Not Only the Face
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Deerhoof – Breakup Song (2012)

Deerhoof - Breakup Song (2012)

I’ve been looking forward to listening to this one for a while. Deerhoof are an American/Japanese experimental noise pop/indie band and Breakup Song is their 11th album in 15 years of existence.

Deerhoof specialise in taking you in directions you don’t expect, from Nine Inch Nails style industrial metal at the beginning of the title track (I kid you not!) and the end of To Fly Or Not To Fly (which itself opens with an epic club dance music-style opening), through a mutant cha-cha on The Trouble With Candyhands to snippets of straight up pop on Fete D’Adieu. We Do Parties descends into noise rock and Bad Kids to the Front sounds like the computer from Chock-a-block is doing backing vocals. All very exciting and very interesting.

Unusual time signatures and polyrhythms are abundant and, along with the constant changes in style and big synth sounds, blips and bloops, noises and grooves, work together to keep you on your toes. Breakup song is just what you’d expect from a Deerhoof album: frenetic, playful, noisy and an awful lot of fun. I can’t remember when I first came across Deerhoof, but a track off the album Friend Opportunity (2007) called Kidz Are So Small has the lyric “If I were a man and you a dog, I’d throw a stick for you”, and that is how I hear Deerhoof; like an over-excited puppy waiting for you to throw a stick, tail wagging, unable to stop itself barking in excitement.

The stark contrast between Matsuzaki’s endearing sweet vocals and the noisy pop rock is a classic Deerhoof sound and something that makes them more interesting than most, and Breakup Song is as good as any in their catalogue.

Favourite tracks: Breakup Songs, Zero Seconds Pause, We Do Parties

Spotify link: Deerhoof – Breakup Song
Sneak peak: