Monday, March 30, 2015

One-Eyed Doll: Witches

Witches (March 24, 2015)

I finally got my preorder of this album in my hot little hands today. Immediately sat myself down, plugged it into my iPod, and got ready for the ride... and I couldn't have been happier.

As I've mentioned in the past, I adore One-Eyed Doll. In fact, if I'm honest they're my absolute favorite band, which is weird really weird if you look at my iTunes. Perhaps that's one of the many draws. They're a musical mish-mash that are impossible to nail down. The duo keeps you on the edge of your seat because you literally have no idea what's going to happen with each new song or album. The amazingly versatile Kimberly Freeman is both an angel and a devil; her horns hold up her halo as she moves seamlessly from snarls to a gospel singer. She and Junior make an excellent team, producing music that burrows itself deep inside you. It'll make you feel things you haven't felt before. An absolute must-see live.

Witches was no exception. I was extremely excited when I heard this coming out. I preordered it and made a conscious decision not to listen to any of the singles (I like to listen to whole albums before I go for individual songs). All I knew about it was that it was a concept album about the Salem Witch Trials. It came a week late, so I was aurally starved and needed to nourish my ears... and Witches is a sonic banquet!

The first song, "Ember", opens with the ominous tolling of bells and a fiery sermon about "notorious sinners" amongst the preacher's flock. This is broken by a shriek and bombastic drums and guitars. This is quite possibly the most metal track on the album. You need to bang your head and scream to the chorus: "my soul's an ember in the flames of hell" (am I interpreting that correctly?). One-Eyed Doll's humorous lyrics are void on the album, but there is still whimsical feel which is particularly evident in the cackling and babbling of Kimberly demons in the background of "Ember". The song flows into "Prayer" in such a way that I thought it was the same song and not a different track. It turns into an orchestral piece with banjo where Kim takes on the persona of one of Salem's puritans, asking for the strength to fight the unholy creatures in her town. "Black in the Rye" kicks things off in a way that makes you move reminiscent to One-Eyed Dolls classics "Committed" or "Break". This is one of those songs I KNOW is going to be a show when Kimberly performs onstage; I can SEE her kicking and whipping her hair back and forth. "A Rope for Mary"  is a sad but beautiful piece about a woman facing the noose. Kimberly's vocals are absolutely haunting in this one.

The entire album is well-written and sure to either tug at your heart strings or get you on your feet with your little rock 'n' roll fists in the rock 'n' roll air. The most surprising thing to me was when I read that they made use of mandolin and banjo, as hinted at earlier. I wasn't really familiar with anyone using these in a rock setting; the only time I had ever heard a song with banjo was when Mumford and Sons was on the radio. I had my concerns it'd sound overtly bluegrass-y but that was quickly dispelled. I was delightfully surprised.

Witches is an album that's sure to delight old fans and serve as a wonderful way to indoctrinate newcomers. It's full of beautiful melodies and playful rockers that will make their way into your heart and stick in your brain for days to come. I love this album and hopefully you will too!Thumbs up!

Also! One-Eyed Doll are on tour right now! I highly recommend you catch them if they come to a place near you! I desperately want to catch the show in Des Moines, but have no car. Attempting to see if I can convince a friend to go with me. If not, I propose to you, Kimberly and Junior--if you're reading this-- that if you pass through Iowa City, I will buy you guys food. Or you can kidnap me and I'll work for you that day. Whatevs.

1 comment:

  1. I sent you a message on Facebook about this but my folks and I are based in Iowa City and we are going to the OED show in Does Moines. We can probably work out getting a ride for you if you are so inclined :D