On single ‘Robe For Juda’, this Brighton trio hint at a greatness that is normally the domain of hindsight alone
The title track opens with a winding surf riff that might have Brian Wilson and his Beach Boys cohorts checking that the sky is still blue, grappling to fathom a reality where the sunny genre they helped invent has become a thing of scuzz. It’s doomy, gloomy and extremely moody, and then grunge invites itself into Wilson’s domain. With a bass straight out of Nirvana’s debut Bleach and chorus to match, the band even delves into the sort of breakdown that Sonic Youth invented and mastered in their belligerent early years. Singer Kristian Bell is also in possession of a powerful and potent weapon, with a voice that veers from a Jack White like moan to the kind of throat-shredding that The Icarus Line’s Joe Cardamone once excelled at.
As the title track finishes you’re desperate for Wide At Midnight to offer one thing only, more of the same. Though it adds a touch of variety to the bands approach, it stays to the fantastic formula that its predecessor followed. What’s also displayed, for all to hear, is the quality of the bands musicianship and songwriting prowess; everything is in harmony and, whether it’s simple or complex, whatever they try comes off.
There are of course other artists dipping their toes into the surf back catalogue to add a little verve to their music, Ty Seagull and Mikal Cronin both add a dash of it to their garage rock stylings with aplomb. What makes The Wytches truly stand out, though, is the sheer vitality of their music, you really feel as though you’ve been ushered into a room and allowed to witness something truly special.
No-one knew that Bleach would be followed by that wrecking ball of a colossus that band released in 1991, and no-one knows the path that The Wytches career will take. Though they might not release a multi-million selling album and find themselves playing to audiences that exceed the hundred thousand mark, what’s certain is that these are exciting times for the trio and their potential is huge.
Verdict: Invest your ears in The Wytches’ enormous potential