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– Rough Trade
25 June - 3 August
Our Woodland Birds - an exhibition by Matt Sewell
4 August - 31 August
Grunge Diary - An exhibition by Steve Gullick
August 27, 7:00pm
BUY THE WYTCHES' ALBUM 'ANNABEL DREAM READER' FROM MONDAY 25th AUGUST AT ROUGH TRADE EAST AND COLLECT YOUR WRISTBAND AT THE SAME TIME OR PRE-ORDER THE WYTCHES BUNDLE ONLINE NOW
Formed in Brighton in 2011, The Wytches comprises Kristian Bell (vocals, guitar), Dan Rumsey (bass, vocals) and Gianni Honey (drums). Led by Bell's luminous lyricism, feral delivery and overdriven, undulating Jazzmaster bends, the trio create a sound that is at once raucous and unruly, and yet decorated with evocative, semi-automatic poetry and authentic emotional clout.
Having left Peterborough after feeling stifled by their hometown's inward-looking hardcore scene, Bell and Honey relocated to Brighton in the autumn of 2011, applying to the city's university, which acted as a scholastic smokescreen behind which they could immerse themselves full-blooded in a new musical venture. Enlisting Bournemouth-raised Rumsey on bass - the sole applicant of a sole advert placed on campus - The Wytches quickly established a sound and vision that encompasses the dark arts and the more extreme limits of rock, but which is never prescriptively macabre. Far from it, the band displays a broadness of sound - all at once the songs reference surf, grunge, metalcore and spy movie scores, while never appearing overstated or derivative. Their darkness is filtered through a prismatic lens, surpassing any single label or pigeonhole other bands are often too easily relegated to.
Though new scenery and personnel enabled their sound to mutate, The Wytches have never lost the DIY spirit of their hardcore origins: from the outset self-promoting; printing flyers; pressing their first single, 'Digsaw'; arranging their own tours, occasionally by way of budget public transport; inviting friend of the band Samuel Gull to create their singular artwork; and producing their own videos - all in spite of squeezed funds. It is this relentlessness and resilience that has seen The Wytches headline countless shows across the UK and Europe to date, and act as chief support to Blood Red Shoes, The Cribs, Drenge, METZ, Splashh, amongst others. This hunger to perform exhaustively provided a regular platform to experiment with and develop the songs that would be released as singles throughout 2012-3 on the Hate Hate Hate label ('Beehive Queen', ThunderLizard Revisited EP, 'Robe for Juda'), and amalgamate the thirteen tracks that make up their debut album, Annabel Dream Reader, released on Heavenly Recordings in the Summer of 2014.
Recorded at Liam Watson's 8-track analogue ToeRag Studios in Hackney, Annabel Dream Reader captures faithfully the tumultuous live sound of The Wytches, tracked as it was in two days of fertile outflow under the supervision of producer Bill Ryder-Jones (ex-The Coral). Over the course of the record, Rumsey and Honey provide an airtight, animated rhythmic platform that allows Bell's delay-and-fuzz-riddled Fender and vocals to warble, wrench and waltz through each track without ever spilling into incoherence. Bell admits to being inspired more by singer-songwriters (Elliott Smith, Leonard Cohen, Roland S. Howard) than specific bands, and already he is an assured manipulator of his tools, combining ominous Egyptianesque harmonic-minor scales with acerbic, assonant wordplay, and utilising his voice as an instrument in its own right. Recording to rolling magnetic tape at ToeRag - with little room for error - lends an honesty and immediacy to the trio's performances, and Ryder-Jones ensures cohesion throughout, supplying the softer songs with flourishes of organ, and allowing the self-confessed 'obnoxiously heavy' sections to blister with glorious abandon.
Not ones to navel-gaze or self-aggrandise, The Wytches admit a strong desire to erase and 'switch up' their sound with each album - plans are already afoot for a more intricate, more instrumentally eclectic second album. Persisting with the drive present from the outset, the band are set to tour extensively over the course of 2014 - taking in the UK, Europe and Austin's SXSW Festival in the US - while promoting the album and untethering a slew of singles beginning with a limited edition cassette, 'Gravedweller', their first for Heavenly.
*** Please note, existing pre-orders for the limited gold vinyl edition of this album do NOT guarantee admission to this event - you must pre-order the items linked on this page (regular black vinyl LP or CD, with wristbands). One wristband per purchase.