(There Are Witches in the Woods)
Psychedelic rock, Garage rock
The Black Angels, The Black Keys
Yes... we love originality at Rotation11 and bands that look to push the envelope in sound tend to score higher on the Rotation dial. That being said, we also appreciate well done flattery and further enhancing a genre. Some may say that the Pretty Lightning sound a hell of a lot like The Black Keys, but we look at it as well done adulation for a very raw and inspiring genre. The German duo clearly have an affinity for the blues garage rock genre that The Black Keys have catapulted to the forefront of commercial frenzy. They do not disguise this. Instead it is embraced and furthered with a whirlwind of consistent psychedelic trippiness that we found very enthralling.
Pretty Lightning was formed in 2007 by two long time friends Christian Berghoff and Sebastian Haas. The duo personify big sound from a mere drum set and massive guitar sound. Berghoff has a pure talent akin to Jack White and Roky Erickson. His technique and ability to elongate the fuzztones are uncanny. The German krautrock influences are also an integral part of their sound and percussion really sets an overcast mood. The backbone for this overcast mood is the incessantly dark and distorted vocals. The muffled echo effect is a constant and we love the fact that the two stick to this formula. We find the consistency in the vocals to add to the addictive nature of this album.
There Are Witches in the Woods is a well crafted intricate album that is sure to entertain guitar centric fans that enjoy dark energy. Released on the independent Finnish label of Fonal Records the eleven tracks weave very nicely together.
1. Down With The Moon
2. We´d Rather Be Some Criminals
3. Blazing Bright
4. Hail Hail
5. See No Evil
6. Old Lord
7. Brother Gold Miner
8. The Sound Of Thunder
9. An Old Wives´ Tale
10. The Wizard
11. The Ghostwalk #2
The first track "Down With the Moon" is probably their most radio friendly cut. There is no question that the listener will do a double take on the Black Keys persuasion. "We'd Rather Be Some Criminals" introduces tremendous groove and weeping guitar. We begin to hear strong Black Angels influences here where the trippy overtakes radio friendly and continues this path through the slide intro of "Blazing Bright" the perfect title to this track where the brightness in the slide guitar and tambourines clouded with the consistent distorted vocals. "Hail Hail" is probably our favorite track on the album and arguably the darkest cut. Subtle organ use and some evil chanting at the end really provide a chilling experience. 'See No Evil' sounds very much like an homage to the Black Angels vocally. A lot going on with this track that you and your headphones will enjoy. "Old Lord" shows off Berghoff tremendous chops and sound he generates interchanging the wawa with slide. "An Old Wives' Tale" contains some very catchy piercing guitar melodies that will stay with the listener. "The Sound of Thunder" and "The Wizard" are also filled with detail and energy. We are impressed with Pretty Lightnings ability to keep this overcast mood and avoid repetition. They somehow keep it fresh and the listener engaged through each track. The last track, "The Ghostwalk #2" unplugs the amps and features the banjo, but the distorted vocals do not waiver. A very nice touch to fade out an album packed with hard work and vision.
Fans of garage rock psychedelia should absolutely pick this album up. We ask that you to give this one multiple listens. At about the fourth listen where we found ourselves really entrenched in the details and much less fixated on the Black Keys comparison. Pretty Lightning are a very talented duo that appreciate a genre and have taken it to deeper levels. They are consistent with their message and have put a shitload of energy and work into There Are Witches in the Woods. - 12/4/1014
Standout Tracks: Old Lord, Hail Hail, An Old Wives' Tale