The Witches / The Crown Prince of Lies
Once upon a time there was a band called The Zephyrs. They were regulars of the Scottish East Coast rock and roll scene, aguarantee of wit and energy. The Zephyrs’ first album, It’s OK Not To Say Anything (1999), was released by a tiny label from Edinburgh and limited to 700 copies. In 2000, their friends of the notorious instrumental band Mogwai signed them up to their Rock Action roster of bands from Glasgow. It took Southpaw in 2001 to issue their LP, When the Sky Comes Down It Comes Down On Your Head, an appropriately fateful title; not because of the songs, which revealed a majestic orchestral rock and recalled This Mortal Coil, Bedhead or Low, but because Southpaw declared bankruptcy 1 week after it was released!! After that, Spanish label Acuarela released2 albums (their third A Year to the Day licensed to Setanta, and the fourth Bright Yellow Flowers on a Dark Double Bed. They played festivals such as Primavera Sound and FIB, toured Spain and Portugal, and found a unique sound: a blend of their influences (intimate pop and country, noise-pop) which resulted in a perfect mix of Simon and Garfunkel / Mogwai / Mojave3 and Auburn Lull. Those albums were recorded by a band in constant change. The Zephyrs were a group with a membership always in transition, every recordreleased on a different label. In fact, their last release to date, Fool of Regrets (2010), started off as a solo project and ended up accidentally reuniting The Zephyrs. It was released by Club AC30, a retro-shoegaze label from London connected to Rachel Goswell (Slowdive) and ex- Adorable guitarist Robert Dillam, now drummer for The Zephyrs. And now, after a silent 8 year period, The Zephyrs have started recording a brand new LP in a self-conscious approach of being a chaotic collaboration of musicians around Stuart Nicol’s songs. They return to Acuarela to offer a foretaste with double A-side single The Witches and The Crown Prince of Lies. There is much of their spontaneous elegance (of clouds anticipating a storm) in their renewed pop that wades across Chris Bell and Gram Parsons, Slowdive and even Grandaddy, as if they were trying to shorten the path to the California sky passing through Scotland. The 2 songs flow thanks to a dim slow-motion psychedelia, sleepwalker pop glimmers, a sort of herding country music with a great melodic appeal.