A collaborative side-project that boasts Bat for Lashes' Natasha Khan, psych-rock band TOY and producer Dan Carey may seem incongruous when viewed as component parts. Yet on the shamelessly titled 'SEXWITCH', respective sounds mesh seamlessly into a wild, breathless ride through a hyper-feminine land.
Billed as a "primal rebellion of the female", it's certainly not a novel concept, yet the overarching concept of the liberated female invokes the current zeitgeist and age-old connotations of 'the witch'. Less about a politicised declaration, this sisterhood wants to seduce, celebrate and bathe in a twilight glory.
'SEXWITCH' is an otherworldly experience. In this regard there is no better artist to front the project than Natasha Khan, possessing the sort of mysticism and spell-binding lyricism needed for a project like this to work. A covers album of sorts, individual tracks interlock into one another, as if to dissolve the cultural boundaries of each track and realise the requisite locked groove that each song exudes. Most tracks are Middle-Eastern or Asian in origin, the one sole western track deriving from America, Skip Spence's 'War In Peace'. Still, these reworked gems possess the same penetrating percussive droning, echo-laden drifting, all hypnotic and doom-laden.
TOY's hypnotic psych-rock leanings provide a different backdrop for Khan to unleash a freer side, a side you feel was teetering on the edge on her last record yet never as effusive as she is on each of these eight tracks. 'Ha Howa Ha Howa', the highlight of the LP, builds and builds to a stomping crescendo, the angrier more dominant sister of Khan's own 'Sleep Alone', becoming a siren cry by the end.
When viewed as a long EP and not as a definitive album - one that you feel Khan, TOY and Carey created through drunken, nightly jam sessions and a shared love of worldly influences, it's all the more fulfilling. It's bonkers and wild, but don't get it twisted - these witches "won't let anyone come between them".
Words: Shahzaib Hussain
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