Alternative rock meets psychedelic rock in the music of All Them Witches. Their fourth album Sleeping Through The War sees the band continuing to combine these two genres, but sounding a bit stale when delivering it.
Over their last two records, namely their sophomore record Lightning At The Door, All Them Witches showcased just how powerful the combination of alternative and psychedelic rock can be. Huge riffs met giant, trippy soundscapes to create huge jams. Sleeping Through The War has a distinct lack of that feeling, instead coming off more as a sort of hangover from the previous records rather than inducing another wild ride.
The album is fronted by 'Bulls,' a very laidback track that builds up. There is a certain anger in it that does seem to bubble at the surface without really pouring over the edge, reminiscent of the band's earlier records. Things mellow out even further in 'Don't Bring Me Coffee,' where the song really just sounds like the sonic representation of a middle aged man's tired morning. It lacks a fire to it that really brought All Them Witches' music a big punch in previous records.
There are some pretty abstract ideas on this record to be appreciated, however. The funkiness of 'Am I Going Up?' is infectious, and paired with the electronica in the background, makes for a pretty unique song in the band's discography. We'll look past the pun that the title is. 'Alabaster' is a winding tale that begins as an outcast story before becoming more akin to a drug-induced trip. The songs do end up sounding pretty scattered or unaimed, sadly. It all adds up to the almost ten minute conclusion 'Internet,' which is just downright lame and boring for its entire play time.
The one redeeming factor on the record is '3-5-7.' It brings the riffs (that were, to be fair, teased in 'Bruce Lee') full force, charging in with a moody and dark fashion before exploding into a slow moving, chunky beast that roars with every strum of a chord. This is the most familiar sounding song to All Them Witches' style on the entire album. It's not a bash on the band trying to change their sound - evolution for any band is necessary. The problem lies in the fact that in trying something different, All Them Witches seemed to lose grasp of meaning and fluidity in almost every track on the record.
They have a strong discography behind them, but All Them Witches sound burned out in Sleeping Through The War. Abandoning the reliance on big riffs and atmosphere, the band turned to channeling more real-life situations into angry or trippy tracks that reflect them. It sounds lazy at points, and at others it feels unaimed. There's better albums to go to if you need a jamming psychedelic and alternative rock record - their back catalogue is all you'll need. Let's hope they find some more inspiration before the next record.
Favorite Track: 3-5-7
Least Favorite Tracks: Internet, Don't Bring Me Coffee
Rating: 69 / 100
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