Annoyed by my unnecessarily long break? Here’s some lazy recompence in the form of an Esben & the Witch review I wrote for the Newcastle Courier:

Esben and the Witch would like you to believe in the alternative great white (or should that be black?) hope tag they’ve been generously bequeathed of late. They’d like you to believe that their brand of sombre, slow-burning goth-gaze is what the British public deserves, nay, needs to shake the cobwebs out of the bloated, homogenous indie scene. It’s this sense of artistic self-importance that powers Violet Cries along; a great wave of holier-than-thou bluster.

And that would be fine if it wasn’t all so dull. Opener ‘Argyria’ goes some way towards tricking you that this simply isn’t the case, starting proceedings with a stately, mostly instrumental swell of powerful noise. But it’s all downhill from there once the realisation of quite how one-track this album is kicks in. Swooning Florence Welch impression? Check. Deep, prominent drumming? Check. Unnecessary, but oh-so-trendy synth additions? Check. Far too much reverb? Check. From the ponderous over-indulgence of ‘Light Streams’ to the ponderous over-indulgence of ‘Eumenides’ (hey, if they can do it so can I), the album never quite breaks out of its own carefully-constructed rut. Sure, this might be more “interesting” than a lot of indie music out there right now, but when it’s just no fun, that’s when you’ve hit a whole new set of problems.

The Beach Boys – Fun, Fun, Fun (YSI)