by / February 10th, 2011 /

Esben & the Witch – Crawdaddy, Dublin

POD and Yours Truly are delighted to announce the debut Irish performance of one of the BBC’s Sound of 2011 acts – ESBEN & THE WITCH.

The indie trio’s debut album “Violet Cries” was released this week to great critical acclaim, cementing the band’s place as one of the most hotly tipped new acts of 2011.

Doors – 8pm

Tickets €14 (inc. booking fee) available from Ticketmaster and usual outlets.


Daniel Copeman – guitar, electronics
Rachel Davies – vocals, bass
Thomas Fisher – guitar, keys

Since forming in Brighton in 2008, Esben and the Witch have forged a sound that springs forth from minds soaked in influences far and beyond any standard set of musical touchstones. Nature and literature, art and science, history and the unknown – the trio eschews the everyday for inspiration drawn from sources weird and wonderful, as well as the occasional Scott Walker and PJ Harvey record.

Announcing their arrival with the demo-cum-EP, 33, which they sold at gigs and distributed online, led to an avalanche of coverage from British broadsheets to US blogs. They followed this unexpected success with a split release on the Dance to the Radio label, contributing the track ‘Skeleton Swoon’ to a 12” in the autumn of 2009, and their first official single, Lucia, at the Precipice, saw light of day as a 7” through the Too Pure Singles Club
in February 2010.

Whilst their music was finding its way out there so were they. Sharing stages, both home and abroad, with a wealth of critically acclaimed artists including The xx, Wild Beasts, Efterklang, The Big Pink, Deerhunter and Sian Alice Group helped them find their feet as a live proposition. It was with the release of their debut 7” that they ventured out on their first headline UK tour and in the summer of 2010, they took their ever-evolving live set to numerous European festivals including Latitude, Field Day, Dockville (Hamburg) and London Calling (Amsterdam).

The second half of 2010 also saw Esben and the Witch find a permanent home with a worldwide deal with legendary indie, Matador Records, to become the label’s only UK signing and placing them alongside Sonic Youth and Cat Power on their impressive roster. With the ink drying, they headed to North America to make their American bow with a six-week stint there, mostly touring with Foals on their breakthrough tour of the continent but also to play at their new label’s much talked about 21st Birthday bash in Las Vegas.

The first fruits of their relationship came with the release of the Marching Song EP in September, which was pressed on 12” and served up as a taster of the debut album, Violet Cries. The accompanying video, with the band appearing more blooded and beaten with each subsequent frame, also hinted at the darkness that lurks within.

Being released on January 31st 2011, Violet Cries is an uncompromising and starkly beautiful record. The rewards over the ten tracks are plentiful, but with the band veering away from instant gratification and choosing to challenge and unsettle the listener instead, it’s clear that they are a band with an agenda; “the one thing we felt we had to maintain in this process was that it had to be new, it had to be something which we felt had not been explored previously,” read a band statement to fans when announcing its release. Achieving this with aplomb, Violet Cries confirms what their early adopters already know, Esben and the Witch are heading up a raft of new bands who are not only lurking in the shadows, they’re flourishing there.

In the press…

“Electronic, melancholic pop… sure to cast an everlasting spell on you.” NME (Gig Guide), October 2009

“It’s Siouxsie and the Banshees or Early Cure, but with a dark digital edge that haunts the same shadowy forests as Fever Ray.” NME (What’s on the NME Stereo), November 2009

“Like delving into some eccentric’s personal musical museum, part post-rock, but cleansed of the musty smell of geeky boys’ rooms. [They] will excite our imaginations for quite some time to come.” NME (lead live review), January 2010

“‘Marching Song’ is an expert exercise in pacing. As the song progresses, EATW quietly remove backing elements until we’re back to where we started, with that riff and ghostly percussion. It deftly veers between bedlam and quiet paranoia.” Pitchfork (8/10 track review), January 2010; track also featured on Forkcast

“Sample-filled mournful beauty, as mysterious as when Maxinquaye was released.” Teletext Planet Sound

“Instantly captivating… Like walking into a hidden attic full of ancient maps, portraits, furniture and ephemera… Romantic and gothic, a shadow of something intangible and otherworldly.”

“They channel literature, nature and sorrow to create hauntingly ethereal tales of dark, foreboding menace.”

“Sonic fairytales with gentle yet portentous beginnings, which gather you up and lead you on short journeys to climatic and momentous points.”

“A haunting, evocative blend of electronica, gothic melancholia, and the dynamics of post-rock… Startlingly accomplished for a new group.” The Stool Pigeon

“Dark, sensual cinematic fusion that blends the hi-tech with the traditional… A flow of music that would have the Mercury judging panel salivating, their pulses racing and gushing plaudits out one after another.” Loud & Quiet

“So powerful and constructed is their sound that it defies belief to see just three people unleashing it.”

“Dark and gloomy but poetic and beautiful at the same time.” Amsterdam Event Guide