Esben and the Witch
Wash the Sins Not only the Face **
Esben and the Witch impressed with their eerie 2011 debut, Violet Cries, but the Brighton trio also backed themselves into a corner with their late-night, gothic indie rock musings. Unsurprisingly, their second album doesn’t leave much room for innovation. Beneath the tiresome layers of reverb-doused guitars and Rachel Davies’s translucent voice are hazy notions of creativity, such as the measured bounce of Slow Wave (The xx go upbeat) and the woozy swerve taken by Deathwaltz’s melody. It’s a shame that practically everything else is smothered by a tedious cacophony of gloom. Esben and the Witch have not yet learned that atmosphere can’t come at the expense of quality songs, and these tracks are simply too stylised, too cold and too pretentious to really get to the heart of.