The name and the promo imagery of The Wytches would lead you to believe this is a really dark and moody outfit. With song titles such as “Gravedweller,” “Crying Clown” and “Digsaw,” they are definitely projecting a sinister, horror-like image.
But the UK band will tell you it's all window dressing and sort of an inside joke. Give a good listen to their debut album “Annabel Dream Reader,” which Partisan Records releases on Aug. 25, and you’ll find they are far more sophisticated than their image. Their sound incorporates early ‘90s driving rock, Syd Barrett-style vocals, and a 1960s surf influence. All together it sounds something like Nirvana playing in the 1965 teenybopper flick “Beach Blanket Bingo.” It’s quite a contrast of styles, but somehow they are able to pull it off as if it were a natural communion.
In Boston to play at Great Scott as they wrapped up their U.S. tour in late July, the Wytches stripped down a couple of their louder songs for us when we invited them to perform at the dilapidated, defunct Publick Theatre, outdoors at Boston’s Christian Herter Park on the Charles River.
In this unplugged set, you immediately hear more of the intricacies of the Kristian Bell’s guitar playing and songwriting. It was especially great to hear performed on the 1965 Gibson E-125 semi-hollow body he recently purchased in Chicago. Accompanied by Gianni Honey playing a snare drum and bass player Dan Rumsey playing tambourine, the power blues ballad, “Weights And Ties” was transformed into a touching acoustic lament.
When Bell belts out, “When you need her, don’t just grab her. Yeah it’s clear that she don’t recognize you at all,” you can experience the desperation and sadness of lost love.