Waking the Witch

Waking the Witch - Hands and Bridges
Witch Records

Former reviewers of Waking the Witch have incessantly described the group as a female Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. There is some truth in this, in the use of acoustic guitar, meticulously planned harmonies and poignant lyrics – but also that it has sadly been done before.

The first track on the album, ‘We Talk,’ contains lyrics of which Destiny’s Child would be familiar: “Hold me, love me, trust me.” Luckily, though, these lyrics are delivered in the sincere and almost medieval sounding voices of Waking the Witch, and are not, I assume, accompanied by booty shaking and skimpy outfits. Although that might rid the girls of their unmistakeable woe.

The second track is probably the only mildly upbeat track of the album, but with very repetitive lyrics, it tends to fade into the lacklustre cycle the first track had begun. ‘The List,’ the third track, though, is a gem, mainly due to the beautiful vocal swells that seem more naturally placed than the forced ones that appear later.

The middle of the album is an ethereal monotony until the final two tracks, ‘Through and Through’ and ‘I Can’t Breathe.’ Although ‘Through and Through’ is yet another reflection on love past, it’s blues and country twangs set it aside from the perhaps more usual singer songwriter stuff the listener had so far been treated to. Really, the final track is nothing special, yet the soaring harmonies insist that the listener must participate until you really are left unable to breathe.

In the publicity for this album, we are told proudly how Waking the Witch have left behind the other instruments that had appeared on their debut, and become stripped down. This is where the band have gone wrong. Four voices and four guitars, with songs to match, is certainly beautiful, but not exciting. Bring back the guest musicians, add a few punchier, uplifting tracks, and wake the witch within the audience.

Sophie Parkes