Music Review: Witching Waves, Crystal Café

Published on March 28th, 2016 in: Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews, Post-Punk, Reviews |

By Tim Murr


I woke up with Witching Waves’ Crystal Café yesterday and jammed to it all morning over a pot of coffee while doing some writing. The album gives off a particularly spectacular energy that consumed my little kitchen and inspired my fingers to fly across the keys for hours. When my wife woke up and came in, her first question was if I writing a review or listening to an old band.

It’s a legitimate question, because Witching Waves sound like they come from another era; it could be the past or future, but either way they sound pissed off to be stranded in the London in which they’ve found themselves. The music reflects this anger, this feeling of isolation in a crumbling world that’s not their own. This is one thing that makes Crystal Café so great.

Emma Wigham, Mark Jasper, and Ed Shellard comprise Witching Waves and their music is a chimera of noise, feedback, challenge, and a pop sweetness provided by Emma’s fantastic voice. The most immediate comparison I’d make is Sonic Youth at their most Evol, but even that comparison falls short. Witching Waves has a sound that’s at first very familiar, but when you try and tie it to a particular era or region, it becomes harder to categorize. The result is an enticing brand of rock that seems to be getting more difficult to find.

Crystal Café, for all its noise and confrontation, is a beautiful album. I’ve probably played it eight times in two days and I really can’t recommend it enough. If anyone misses the great noisy alt-rock of the late 1980s/early ‘90s, here’s your new favorite band—but the same goes for anyone seeking a great new band that delivers an album devoid of filler.

Recommended tracks: “Twister,” “Red Light,” “The Threat”

Crystal Café was released on February 26 by HHBTM Records.

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