All Them Witches – Dying Surfer Meets His Maker – Review

New West
Review by Mike Bax

In an era of musicianship where classification of a band’s music can make or break their early careers, I submit to you All Them Witches, a Nashville, Tennessee four-piece that sounds like a different band on every song on their album. This is not a deterrent in any way. There are moments of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Budgie, Alman Brothers and the Stooges to be savoured on the nine songs that comprise Dying Surfer Meets His Maker. If you like it rowdy and heavy, pop on ‘El Centro’ and be ready to be humbled – it’s eight and a half minutes of thundering In A Gadda Da Vida crescendo with a completely modern twist.

Robby Staebler, Ben McLeod, Charles Michael Parks Jr and Allan Van Cleave have crafted something truly noteworthy here. I’m digging on this album the way I was digging on Kyuss and Monster Magnet the first time I was introduced to them – these are bands I still completely revere today.

On ‘Sun Ra’, listeners will experience delicate moments of ambience resonating of musicianship akin to movements by Syd Barrett and Brian Eno. The sprawling ‘Open Passageways’ reminds me of some of the best moments of The Decemberists’ Hazards of Love album.

Harmonicas? Check. Bluesy jams? Yep. Relevant song craft? You bet.

I’ve not heard a new album that has reminded me of so many great bands and done it without making the album feel trite or somehow plagiarized. The nine songs on Dying Surfer Meets His Maker are all inspired, and that’s a rare thing indeed for a band right now.

With the current popularity of music that hinges on the sounds of the 1970s, All Them Witches should be considered required listening for fans of anything fitting into this classification. You can sample some of their material at their Bandcamp link below.

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