Esben and The Witch have much to recommend them. On top of being shortlisted for the BBC’s sound of 2011, and signed to Matador records, they plundered their name from a Danish Fairytale – Seriously, what’s not to love?

Formed in Brighton in 2009, the trio put out an E.P. and then a 7-inch single before getting the call from Matador, with their debut album Violet Cries following soon after at the end of January this year.

Producing a sound best described as gothic but not goth (never that), they could easily be in the vanguard of something the NME would probably describe as new grave if only they hadn’t wasted that tag on the likes of Mansun and Marion (new wave of new grave anyone?!), some call it Witch house – but we’re guessing that’s more to do with the name than any strict taxonomy.

Whatever – armed with such an atmospheric, ominous witches brew, the band provide the perfect antidote to the saccharine fayre guaranteed to be on offer this mothering Sunday. Daniel O’Donnell they are not.

Mike Pinnington


Esben and the Witch,
Kazimier, April 3

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