Brighton’s supernatural noirists
Ones To Watch 2011 - Esben And The Witch

Matador’s first UK signings for six years finally weave their spell.

Everyone loves a good yarn. Few more than Esben And The Witch; Matador’s latest trio whose supernatural nightmare pop is twitching earlobes on both sides of the pond.

Esben And The Witch actually pilfered their name from the Danish fairy tale that bears uncanny similarities to the British story of Hansel and Gretel. It seems every tale has been told somewhere before.

When we talk about their need to explore new areas of music, this idea crops up again quickly. “Someone will have already done that musical thing that you think is particularly new anyway,” sighs Dan Copeman, who presides over guitars and electronics. “We are just trying to challenge ourselves - which isn’t really that hard considering what it’s like whenever we pick up our instruments!”

Keen Clash readers will remember that we actually tipped Esben last year - yet another case of premature spasms on our side - but this Brighton band, made up of Copeman, ghostly singer Rachel Davies and synthist Thomas Fisher, were keen to get their album exactly right.

Long-awaited debut ‘Violet Cries’ heaves and seethes with a dark tone and macabre subtext, something that grew organically grew, as Dan continues: “Albums are always going to be reflective of what happened during its creation. This album came together very much in cold bedrooms and cold cellars and a degree or element of that came through. It wasn’t intentionally dark but that’s just where we were at that time.”

Words by Matthew Bennett

Where: Brighton, UK
What: Folk noir
Unique Fact: Considering their lack of a drummer they destroy numerous drumsticks every show.
Get 3 songs: ‘Marching Song’, ‘Chorea’, ‘Warpath’


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