Esben and the Witch – “Wash Sins Not Only the Face” (2013)


Label : Matador Records

Review by Luisa Mercier

I already had a little bit of previous knowledge of Esben and The Witch, but I have to confess that I never had the will to really know them, until the moment this promo popped up in my mail. I was immediately impressed by the artwork, that really is a piece of art and, of course by the music.

“Wash Sins Not Only The Face” (title inspired by a palyndrom sentence in Agia Sophia Church in Constantinople) is a very refined, elegant record, not for all tastes, not for the vain that’s for sure. It is a complex mix of shoegaze, post-rock and gothic rock completed by the vocals of  Rachel Davies . You have heavier moments that reminds me of Alcest and others that are closer to Slowdive. Actually the opener “Iceland Spar” sums up all the above.

The following “Slow Wave” has fascinating guitar riffs, will take you on a real trip in the evening shade. It is more instrumental that vocal, but weirdly enough, it is my favourite in the album. The lyrics themselves made more explicit the concept of the journey that music seems to incorporate so well. I quote Wikipedia and Rachel herself “ The lyrics were inspired by things such as the works of TS Eliot and Sylvia Plath, the surrealist movement and  “van conversations questioning what it would be like to meet your doppelganger thousands of miles from home” This record is something I deeply advice to experience in the dark with your eyes closed and alone.

Rating – 80/100



  1. Iceland Spar
  2. Slow Wave
  3. When That Head Splits
  4. Shimmering
  5. Deathwalts
  6. Yellow Wood
  7. Despair
  8. Putting Down The Prey
  9. The Fall of Glorieta Mountain
  10. Smashed to Pieces in The Still of The Night


Line Up

  • Rachel Davies – Vocals
  • Thomas Fisher – Guitars
  • Daniel Copeman – Synths


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