Album: Esben and the Witch, Violet Cries (Matador)

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The Independent Culture

Violet Cries offers a salutary lesson in the pitfall's of cultural prediction: for if Esben and the Witch can feature on the BBC's Sound of 2011 longlist, then there are clearly more than a few cloth-eared contributors to that list.

The group have been around for well over a year without arousing much of a stir, and the monumentally tedious poesie-rock of Violet Cries offers few hints that this should change. Swathed in flanged guitar, swells of cymbals and thunderously rolling tom-toms, with vocals that aren't so much sung as declaimed in fancifully "bewitching" manner, songs such as "Argyria" and "Hexagons IV" resemble Killing Joke in thrall to the natural world and unnatural sound effects devices, in roughly equal proportions. But however awed one's personal experience, paddling in a stream is still just paddling, and snow is just snow.