All Them Witches — Nothing as the Ideal — Album Review

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Psychedelic Rock | Blues Rock

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All Them Witches were a band whose music I first experienced at a house party, which I supposed seem like an unusual means of discovering their stoner rock sound. But it must’ve worked pretty well, as I spent my days after that evening obsessively browsing their music, in search of that one single I heard that blew my mind.

That single ultimately ended up being the one known as “Swallowed By The Sea”, which can be found on the band’s sophomore album Lightning at the Door, originally released in 2013, before being re-released in 2015. And exciting enough, their newest effort, Nothing as the Ideal, feels like a stylistic return to that cult classic of an album.

To say that there was a lot sitting on this album being enjoyable is an understatement; after the release of 2018’s ATW, which I thought was a massively disappointing project, and by far the band’s most uninspired album, I was anxious that if they followed suit with their future projects, I may wind up growing out of All Them Witches completely.

But in November of last year, my anxiety was remedied with the standalone single “1X1”, which felt like a glorious return to the All Them Witches that I knew and loved. And as a result, my attention towards them had returned.

And while there would be a fairly long void between the release of “1X1” and the next, 2020 still marked the point in which All Them Witches would release their sixth studio album. This was first teases with the extensive experience that was “Saturnine & Iron Jaw”, which really felt like something that would’ve easily fitted into a project like Lightning at the Door.

But as if the similarity between these two albums wasn’t aparrent enough, the third teaser track, “The Children of Coyote Woman”, shows a narrative tie between this album and their sophomore project, whose narrative relied heavily on the character of “Coyote Woman”. This showed in the two tracks that Lightning at the Door had, named “The Marriage Of Coyote Woman” and “The Death Of Coyote Woman”. The calm and atmospheric track that is “The Children of Coyote Woman” serves as a continuation in the narrative, and the children’s “squabbling’ following the death of their mother. As a result, I definitely appreciated the narrative aspect of this album.

However, it is still musically far from perfect; I feel that the biggest issue that I have in regards to this, is just how patience testing a few of the tracks are. Despite only having a total of eight tracks, Nothing as the Ideal is still nearly 45 minutes in length. And the biggest reason behind why that is is because two of those tracks nearly reach the ten minute mark. And while both of the tracks in question are fairly decent listens, there’s also a tonne of ambient noise that just didn’t need to be there at all, and really tested my engagement with these songs. I appreciate that All Them Witches has a reputation for making lengthy musical experiences, but I felt that “Saturnine & Iron Jaw” was the most well-balanced example of this. Everything else that follows the extensive formula on this thing just take it way too far.

Although, there are also fresh listens on this project as well that were both standard in terms of duration and very enjoyable, such as the gritty and dynamic “Enemy of My Enemy”, as well as the cold and heavy “41”. However, I feel that the instrumental track “Everest”, adds little to nothing to the album as a whole. much like the ambient noise on the longer tracks.

As a result, while a remarkable improvement upon ATW, Nothing as the Ideal still comes across as an album that could’ve been made longer in a more exciting way. And while the more enjoyable tracks are greatly so, there are just too few of them. So while I would still rank this album beneath the first four All Them Witches albums, the band are at least on their way to a return to form.

Favourite Tracks: Saturnine & Iron Jaw | Enemy of My Enemy | The Children of Coyote Woman

Least Favourite Track: Everest

New West Records | LLC

7/10

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My articles mainly revolve around music reviews and analysis. A bit like Anthony Fantano, but just a decade behind.

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