In these days of streaming and, God forbid, stealing albums, it is very common for bands to leave a long gap between each piece of their recorded output, because touring is what puts food on the table and money in the pockets. These circumstances then, make it even more commendable that a band like All Them Witches can push out five full length albums and four EPs in six years.
And so we come to this latest offering, ATW, a fully DIY affair with the band recording and producing the album themselves. Both of these revelations deserve immediate reflection as the sound right across this record is absolutely stellar. The drum sound in particular is excellent, achieving that psych rock pinnacle of tight snares, unintrusive bass and cymbals that beautifully wash across the soundscape. The perfect display piece for the recording and production is Half Tongue, which shows the aforementioned drum sound, the beautiful guitar tones, and the light keyboard touches providing embellishment without over-powering matters.
Across this album, the Tennessee band pull from many influences, from The Doors on album opener Fishbelly 86 Onions, to Black Sabbath in the chugging middle section of 1st vs. 2nd, but they always manage to evoke the feelings of these bands and create something fresh without sounding stale, as so many backwards-looking bands can. The peak of this cherry picking brilliance is Rob’s Dream, which sounds like Pink Floyd playing Led Zeppelin’s No Quarter.
The thematic centrepiece of the album is the the 10 minute opus Harvest Feast, with a drum beat that Bonham himself would have been proud to play, and sumptuous guitar lines prowling underneath the gentle crooning of vocalist of Charles Michael Parks Jr. At over 51 minutes, the album does require effort on the listeners behalf and could possibly have benefited from a few cuts here and there, but despite this, it is still a largely enjoyable listen.
Psychedelia has been an important element of rock music for over 50 years now. All Them Witches are not reinventing any wheels, and are more often than not a composite of many influences rather than planting any new seeds themselves, but on their 5th full length release they are writing songs that can absolutely stand up with those bands from which they draw.