Esben and the Witch: Wash the Sins Not Only the Face
Wash the Sins Not Only the Face is the second album from progressive Brighton trio Esben and the Witch. Their debut, Violet Cries, took us down a dark and winding road, with the voice of lead singer Rachel Davies sounding like an echo from a cave for the majority of tracks. On this album, however, her vocals are polished a bit clearer, although the theme of the album can still be seen as one of underlying sadness and struggle. It’s the guitar on this album that echoes throughout most of the songs.
The album opens with “Iceland Spar,” a song seemingly about a brave adventurer who presents the world with new ideas. The chorus is slow, then builds up into a dizzying crescendo. “Slow Wave” evokes images of being on a foreign island underwater, while “When That Head Splits” is easily my favorite track on the album. (I just wish there were lyrics available for it.)
“Deathwaltz,” the first single from the album, portrays softer vocals from Davies, although the subject she’s singing about might not be too pleasant. “Are you the answer, or are you an echo?” whispers Davies in the beautiful “The Fall of Glorieta Mountain,” the slowest track on the record.
Overall, Wash the Sins is a triumphant sophomore record for Esben and the Witch, being more emotional than their debut, but just as unsettling.