My favorite goth-rock band is finally back for round 2 with their sophomore album All Your Happy Life. The Wytches established their power trio in Peterborough circa 2011. Searching for a sound with more gravity than their former, more timid band, The Crooked Canes, Kristian Bell (singer/songwriter/guitarist) and Gianni Honey (drummer) found a more polished, darker vessel upon teaming up with bassist Dan Ramsey to create The Wytches. Their freshman album, Annabel Dream Reader, sent me for a loop; indulging and revitalizing my attraction to goth rock and all its holiness that Bauhaus pioneered more than three decades ago. Where Annabel Dream Reader has impeccable potential to soundtrack the newest Jason movie, All Your Happy Life slows time down a bit and adds a western-blues flavor to the mix…and a bit of lyrical maturity to top it off.
The album begins with an eerie strings intro leading in to an instant shockwave of thumpy surf vibes with C-Side. Hearing the chilling keyboard addition that new addition Mark Breed elevates right away is perfect fill to complete their murky sound. Followed by Can’t Face It that runs through first verse and chorus of marching upbeat tempo and slows down with signature change to pull you closer. Ghost House capitalizes on its Rob Zombie-esque opening riff; pure hypnotizing horror rock. Bone Weary is a flurry of scratching guitar towards finale to assure blood is flowing to prepare for next track Crest of Death – staggering Dinosaur Jr-like anthem that has you chanting CREST OF DEATH, FIGHT THE HAND THAT DRAGGED YOU HERE in your dreams, enough to vibrate the skull and keep you coming back for more.
Listening to All Your Happy Life from front to back is like falling asleep in a graveyard and waking up mid-nightmare on a beach… and I mean that in the most provocative way possible. And all of this just in time for Halloween (well, I was listening to it over the holiday, but got around to this review a little late). Drawing obvious parallels to Joy Division’s dark, twisted fantasies, this album sets the experimental bar for the band with the fresh addition of a keyboardist. Looking forward, this building block is the perfect stepping stone to a perfectly dark and disturbingly progressive album…watch out for this band’s third album coming soon.
Release date: September 30, 2016
Infinite Loop – pretty self-explanatory
Replay on Repeat– worth playing from start to finish and revisiting
A Few Jewels – see bold font songs in review
One Time– worth playing from start to finish just to say you did and to reduce FOMO
Waste of Time – waste of time
Bleeding Ears – buy the record just to destroy it and save others from hearing impairment