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Monday, 11 January 2010

Introducing.. Esben and the Witch (Unsigned)


Esben and the Witch are a Brighton three-piece who don't just have some of the most haunting gothic pop songs of the last decade to boast - they have one of the most concise and chilling band images to match. Naming themselves after a Danish fairytale, they fill their music with ancient medieval references and litter their myspace page with wood-styled carvings of skulls and forests. In keeping with the mystery surrounding their descent - they provide only first names, and quote their musical influences as simply 'glaciers, caverns and waning moons'; their lone headline is "nightmare pop." The heavily blurred and deliberately ambiguous photo above is about as clear as I could find.

As unclear as their past and present are, what we do know is that the three came together in 2008, are currently residing in Brighton and
released their debut EP, titled simply '33' on October 26, 2009. They have a UK tour coming up and judging by the small selection of darkened live shots, they are well worth seeing - in true Fever Ray fashion, their stages are draped with low and coloured lights to match the low and melancholy mood.

Chilling, shivering late 80s gothic synthpop is where the musical result of all this background lies - this is downbeat and haunted electronic music not for the light-hearted. Taking all the hypnotic sentimentality in vocals of Beth Gibbons and combining it with the darkened themes of the Siouxsie & The Banshees inspired gothic movement of the early 80s leaves the bare bones of a candlelit tribute to all music of that mood. There are echoes of The XX in that this band are one of the more subtle bands out there at the moment, and its perfectly possible to read just as much into what they leave out as what they include. You can download the full EP '33' at the band website -

File Next To - Siouxsie & The Banshees, The XX, Portishead

Esben and the Witch - Marching Song (MP3)
Esben and the Witch - About This Peninsula (MP3)

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