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Album Review: All Them Witches – ATW

All Them Witches rarely strays from their fuzzy blues core, but the Nashville quartet always finds a new perspective on the style with every album they release. Every effort has something distinct going on, and their fifth full-length ATW is certainly no exception. It is a decidedly stripped-down affair, especially compared to the bells and whistles of 2017’s Sleeping Through the War, but it doesn’t quite reach the heavy stoner jams of their earliest efforts either.

A greater emphasis on classic rock influences and more noticeable bravado set ATW apart from the band’s other albums, especially during its first half. The unusually titled “Fishbelly 86 Onions” and “1st Vs 2nd” are the best examples of this trope at work. The former gets rather repetitive, but I do appreciate the call and response riffs that weave around the out of character motor mouth vocals. The latter has a swaggering riff set that sounds like something Jeff Beck would’ve come up with.

The other songs mostly consist of the familiar All Them Witches blues jams. There’s still plenty of time devoted to slow burns and atmospheric buildups, but even they have a pretty different vibe than usual. Cuts like “Workhorse” and “Diamond” have a prowling desert aesthetic that recalls the Dying Surfer-era sound with a stronger bite in lieu of musical narration while others like the near eleven-minute “Harvest Feast” utilize a mournful swing.

As one would expect with a self-titled album (or an acronym title, same difference), ATW is All Them Witches’ most well-rounded album to date. A continued emphasis on drawn out psych-blues ensures that the band hasn’t dumbed down their songwriting, but a rawer style with punchier hooks does make it easier to get a feel for than their earlier outings. The incorporation of classic rock influences is also tastefully done and never feels too derivative or gimmicky. Other albums may better portray certain aspects of the All Them Witches sound, but there’s no greater overall representation.

Highlights:
“1st vs 2nd
“Diamond”
“Harvest Feast”
“HJTC”

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