Album Review: All Them Witches – “Sleeping Through The War”
If you’re yet to encounter Nashville’s All Them Witches then you should grab a decent pair of headphones, find a darkened room and settle down with your favourite recreational substance to check out 2015’s Dying Surfer Meets His Maker. The band’s breakthrough record is chock full of trademark sprawling jams that are languid and kaleidoscopic, yet devious in their ability to get deep into your soul.
Two years later and after massive success on the road, especially in Europe, ATW have enlisted country producer Dave Cobb for fourth album Sleeping Through The War. Determined to be better prepared ahead of their studio sessions rather than take the rough and ready approach they’d normally go for, the band spent six days writing before hitting the record button this time out, and it shows. Songs like Bulls and Don’t Bring Me Coffee are ATW at their best, retaining all of the fascinating swirl they’re renowned for, but producing a far more structured sound, without losing any of that tantalising psychedelia.
3-5-7 is a swaying QOTSA dirge fuelled by some trademark Ben McLeod guitar fuzz, showing the band at their most accessible, and although from here on in the songs get longer, they’re no less enjoyable. Am I Going Up? features a hypnotic guitar part that retains intensity as it flirts with a slowly simmering keyboard accompaniment, whilst the cultish Alabaster is full of playful yet sinister percussion like the Stones at their Satan-bothering best.
Cowboy Kirk and Guess I’ll Go Live On The Internet close things out nicely, the former a typically snake-like rhythmic journey and the latter more akin to some of All Them Witches’ jams of old with rasping harmonica interludes. Both feel like suitable album finishes, leaving the listener embroiled in a gloriously trippy fug.
As with most All Them Witches material, you'll need to invest time in Sleeping Through The War, but when you do it's a spiralling delight. Filled with psychedelic yet more direct songs from the band than usual, this record sees All Them Witches forging forward and bettering what some thought was unbeatable.