Last year I wrote about label mates Neurotic Fiction and their interesting approach to post punk which embraced the joyous B52’s rather than the dour Joy Division and spoiler alert Witching Waves have a similar vibe.
This singular comparison is where similarities to Neurotic Fiction end, Witching Waves are clearly a completely different beast as proved by the ferocious album opener ‘Disintegration’. Growling guitars and thumping drums are joined by a snarling vocal before a delicate rolling bassline guides the ear in and out of the gang chorus. This is a ferocious opener and sets the scene for the rest of the release as it takes on an almost entirely new form to end with harmonies and a crash. After such a breathless opening the ferocity continues to keep this release flowing with a real sense of purpose and direction, these tracks fly in and out of each other with musical or vocal themes continuing in and out of tracks. This creates both stand out tracks and a release that flows without effort and plays as a single piece of music this is a credit to both song writing and track listing.
‘Best of me’ offers a brief break from the relentless pace with some real pop sensibilities, the chorus and hooks are sharp and instantly memorable and the guitar and bass jangle playfully together in front of a sun drenched drumline. The creativity movement between harmonies, gang vocals and the effortless talking tones is fascinating and within seconds of the explosive bass of ‘Hoax’ the ear is drawn completely in to another slice of fierceness. As anger enters the vocals comparisons with Mika Miko write themselves and behind this as the album develops lie nods towards the ever creative No Age or Surfer Blood. This is a release that is almost timeless with its similarities to bands from Gang of Four in the 80’s to, Graffiti Island or Vivian Girls in the 00’s and similarities to almost every band described with sunshine in the modern age.
There is an undoubtable social political theme lyrically but this is hidden within often surreal word play. Within these lyrics emotion is cleverly conveyed with the three pronged vocal attack allowing for each song to layer vocals with varied emotion. This device works most effectively in the moments where each voice leads a separate emotional charge, with saccharin sweetness layered on top of a snotty anger and the occasional shout there is scope for each and every track to capture you in a different lyrical device.
Throughout it is obvious that this is a release packed with an almost historical look at the artier side of alternative music. With complex musicianship and combinations of sharp song writing, hooks and melodies ‘Persistence’ is a release that will spark interest repeatedly within each and every song. As a whole piece the album effortlessly flows with clever moments of stop-start transition and a floaty quality that is just designed for sunshine. Once more Specialist Subject have found a phoenix to rise from the ashes of post punk.