Brighton trio Esben And The Witch long ago mastered the art of building up their songs from a brooding crawl to a brutal onslaught of sonic violence — or starting with the violence and scaling back to its eerie aftermath. In doing so, they’ve always lived up to their name. Whatever its true lineage — be that Kate Bush, Sonic Youth, Swans, Portishead, or Siouxsie And The Banshees — this music always feels like it emanated from some crooked-fingered cackler’s cauldron. It’s singular, seductive, terrifying stuff. It casts a spell.
Esben are still conjuring those sensations on A New Nature, their first release through their own Nostromo label after parting ways with Matador. Recorded in Chicago with Steve Albini, it finds them as haunting and bombastic as ever, their sound distilled to its purest, blackest essence. It feels odd to talk about a bright future for such a dark band, but there you have it: No matter how much they sound like creeping death, Esben And The Witch won’t be withering away anytime soon. Hear A New Nature in full below, and scroll through a gallery of photos from the recording sessions above.