Los Angeles-based female trio L.A. WITCH gather together the last few years of songwriting and garnish it up to be served on their long-awaited debut record. Their brew of dirty reverb-soaked surf rock pulls from many sources, whether it’s citing the distorted ways of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club or the jangly psychedelics of The Black Angels. Despite the lush soundscapes and large scope of exploration tied to the many sub-genres that L.A. WITCH so clearly admire, the debut album’s short thirty-two minute runtime suffers from absolute monotony.
The visible issues lie with L.A. WITCH’s inability to offer up something with a unique selling point. The majority of the sound they are pushing has been done to a better extent by the influences they pull from, with a lack of innovation and originality. Well, except for Sade Sanchez’s lead vocal lines, which are, whilst different, also questionable in their ghostly gothic appearance.
It becomes apparent within the tracklist that there is a clear lack of drive to differentiate. Many cuts ultimately end up being a snoozefest – ‘Brian’, perhaps the biggest snoozer on the tracklist, is overly-subdued and one-dimensional. For a debut album with a half-hour runtime, there are too many low-energy performances to make a stern impact on virgin listeners in perhaps the most crowded collection of sub-genres today.
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A few punchier cuts are dotted around the tracklist, which in turn offer up some energy bursts for an otherwise tiresome album performance. The rockabilly vibes of ‘Untitled’ provide a welcome contrast from the droning of the opening tracks, whilst ‘You Love Nothing’ takes advantage of a prominent drum mix to inject some movement into the listener, also benefitting from an interesting extended instrumental bridge, showing that the band are actually willing to develop a composition to have multiple stages. ‘Drive Your Car’ is perhaps the highlight, due to its punky outlook and straightforward guitar & bass partnership.
It’s remarkable that L.A. WITCH’s debut, with its short runtime, is ultimately a tiresome slog through several one-dimensional tracks. It’s technically competent, but not one cut comes close to being spectacular. Sanchez’s vocal style may be a fitting and unorthodox accompaniment to the slow, groggy desert-blues, but in the end, the album’s low-energy feel does not make for an enjoyable and rewarding listening experience.
L.A. WITCH’s debut album is out September 8 via Suicide Squeeze.