The self-described 'surf-doom' trio follow their musical forebears down a very dark path
Kristian Bell, The Wytches’ singer, songwriter and guitarist, has said that the Brighton trio’s debut is a break-up album. By the sounds of it, it’s a breakdown album too. Produced by Bell with ex-Coral member Bill Ryder-Jones, ‘Annabel Dream Reader’ is a blizzard of darkness that takes cues from experts in the field. Nirvana’s ‘Bleach’ is everywhere: in Bell’s screaming of the word “she” on opener ‘Digsaw’, in Dan Rumsey’s loose Krist Novoselic bass on ‘Gravedweller’. Tony Iommi’s tectonic Black Sabbath riffing also dominates, most successfully on ‘Robe For Juda’. Occasionally, as on ‘Crying Clown’, the darkness becomes a dirge. But when The Wytches employ a lighter ‘Suck It And See’-era Arctic Monkeys touch they’re capable of ‘Wire Frame Mattress’ and ‘Track 13’, exceptional songs full of both melody and menace.