In a Witch Forest

Written by: BV on 14/03/2015 12:08:39

Let it be known that I am no stranger to the musical output of Aarhus-based neo-psychedelic shoegazers Spökraket. Having not only fallen in love with their split release with The Road to Suicide and grown quite fond of their debut album “All Art is Propaganda”, I was delighted to find that they have returned with their third full-length album, “In a Witch Forest”, following up on 2013’s “Darling Adharma”. Sonically speaking, there seems to have been a massive development in the band, both in terms of recording and production, but also in terms of arrangement and sheer songwriting craft.

From the huge-sounding album opener “Tahrir Square” the listener is immediately swallowed up by an up-beat shoegaze monster of a track driven by a constant rhythmic backbeat and a shimmering pallet of guitar sounds supplemented by droning, hazy vocals. This particular approach is not entirely new to Spökraket, but what takes them to a higher level on this album is the level of detail they have managed to work into the songwriting, as well as the recording. “Tahrir Square” is hypnotic and enticing and just when you think you’ve figured it out, a small series of hand-claps appear in a short musical break – completely surprising the listener, or me at the very least, making the whole effort seem so meticulously planned, without compromising the band’s immediacy. That the band immediately follows such a strong opening track with one of the album’s highlights is no deal-breaker either, as my attention becomes carefully fixed at “Tandava” and the fuzzy guitars, organ-drones and strange rhythm section. It’s a rare feat to manage to surprise me throughout every single listen of an album, but there are so many hidden sonic gems all over “In a Witch Forest” that I simply can’t stop returning to it to uncover more of them.

“Electricity Comes From Other Planets” is an interesting part of the album as well. Although it lacks the immediacy of most of the other tracks, I continue to be haunted by the simple guitar-line on top of the shimmering drone – having woken up to the sound of it in my head at least twice this week! It’s not a great track per se, but it is executed beautifully nonetheless – which also seems to be the essence of “In a Witch Forest”. The album’s greatest tracks are all found near the very beginning, save for the title track which is quite monolithic and hypnotic in its own right. But the fact that I find myself returning for more every time I’ve finished the album, certainly speaks to its strengths as a whole. If I were one of the people who do not appreciate listening to full albums, instead just picking out the tracks I like, I could still see myself making my way through “In a Witch Forest”. Although there certainly are some very high peaks on the album, it does make for a rather brilliant listen as whole, and should be enjoyed just as that; a whole. Preferably in a darkened space where your mind can just wander to the soundtrack it has now been given.


Download: Tahrir Square, Lord Drug My Mind, Tandava, In a Witch forest
For the fans of: The Road to Suicide, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Spacemen 3, Spiritualized
Listen: Facebook

Release date 22.02.2015
Cable Hell Records

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