sun 07/03/2021

CD: Sexwitch - Sexwitch | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Sexwitch - Sexwitch

CD: Sexwitch - Sexwitch

Ritualistic weirdness, retro-psychedelia, and a rebirth for Natasha Khan

A set of cover versions from the time when psyche-rock swept the world:

Natasha Khan has taken a fascinating trajectory through the music world. As Bat For Lashes she first came to public attention as part of an early-2000s wave of psychedelia, allied in particular to the furry starchild Devendra Banhart. But her high drama electropop-tinged sound was as far from Banhart's all-organic “freak folk” as it was from the fiddlier laptop-driven sound of folktronica, and she ended up occupying a space all her own.

Natasha Khan has taken a fascinating trajectory through the music world. As Bat For Lashes she first came to public attention as part of an early-2000s wave of psychedelia, allied in particular to the furry starchild Devendra Banhart. But her high drama electropop-tinged sound was as far from Banhart's all-organic “freak folk” as it was from the fiddlier laptop-driven sound of folktronica, and she ended up occupying a space all her own. Only the similarly theatrical Marina & The Diamonds came close to her approach, although the ghastly Florence would ride an altogether crasser and clunkier version to great commercial success.

It seemed a little like she might be one of those acts that just keeps on keeping on, refining a sound for a small but passionate following – but this six-track mini-album says otherwise. A collaboration with Brighton psychedelicists TOY and producer Dan Carey, it's a set of cover versions from the time when psyche-rock swept the world: there are songs here from Morocco, Iran and Thailand (with new English lyrics) as well as American outsider-songwriter Alexander “Skip” Spence's 1969 “War in Peace”.

It's a long, long way from being a throwback, though. There is a club music sensibility to the production and grooves, a hint of glam rock here, some pop vim and verve there, and the whole thing feels like a thoroughly modern ritual. God knows what they got up to in the studio, because each song – shot through with imagery of sex, death and other methods of dissolution of self – really does feel like musicians forgoing ego in pursuit of something way beyond just a sound. It's both disturbing and joyous, a Dionysian demonstration of just how much can be gained by going back to go forwards.

Overleaf: Listen to Sexwitch's "Helelyos"

 

God knows what they got up to in the studio, because each song feels like musicians forgoing ego in pursuit of something way beyond just a sound

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Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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