Where: Sonic Unyon/Out Of Sound/PERDU
Oh my goodness it’s finally out. Canadian underground dwellers WTCHS have had a busy year releasing material on all kinds of formats such as digital, cassettes, compilations, splits, lathe cuts to spread their oozing brand of gritty sonic euphoria all over the where. The four piece have culminated this productive year with the release of EP It’s Not A Cross, It’s A Curse! Which a lot of people have become excited for, like blissfully unaware children about to bite into “chips” that were actually parsnips. Thanks Dad.
Having witnessed the carnage since pretty much the birth of WTCHS it seems this new EP bares a cleaner sound that makes instruments distinguishable and all of the nastiness even more difficult to escape. Opening track Young Girls introduces a wave of sonic bile that is good enough to swallow back down with it’s repetitve guitar riff and primal screams that add extra atmospheric terror to a sound which already comes with jagged lead licks and drums that sound phenomenal. The cleaner sound does not ease up on WTCHS ability to sound overwhelmed with distortion and eeriness; it allows the songs to deliver hooks that would have otherwised been lost in the woods, and that’s awesome.
Top Prize features one of the most original instrumentation heard in a long time with a chugging beat and harmonics scattered everywhere like a flickering light in an abandoned hospital. The vocals scream out for some semblance of people’s ears, and they really pick up and stick in your head right before the static feedback sample kicks in and suddenly everything’s bleeding again.
Closing track Nell ends It’s Not A Cross…with a strangely inviting groove that’s embedded amongst layers of feedback and backing howls but manages to shine through to somehow make all of the noise suddenly become attractive in a way. WTCHS have outdone themselves with It’s Not A Cross, It’s A Curse!, and fortunately as they headed towards a slightly more accessible sound they still managed to keep their personality and everything that made them so foreboding yet interesting.
WTCHS have remained my favourite band and it’s great to see them and the entire Canadian underground get the recognition they deserve. It’s Not A Cross, It’s A Curse! Brings an end to a year that showcased how much potential WTCHS has, and hopefully the next will showcase how much they’ve fulfilled that. For more music reviews, free downloads and WTCHS MAN. SEE THEM. Check out Exploding Head Syndrome on Facebook and Twitter.