If you have never heard of Sexwitch, you might be forgiven for thinking that this album is full of lyrics like, “kill your parents and drink their blood,” etc. But the name aside, Sexwitch’s self-titled Album is a psychedelic rehash of some 70’s folk and psych songs that originate in countries as diverse as Thailand, Iran, Morocco and the U.S. and thankfully has none of the murder death kill bollocks that the name would suggest… Almost.
The LP is the result of a joint effort by Natasha Khan (Bat For Lashes) and the delightfully dark Toy (now sadly without the lovely Alejandra Diez) who previously collaborated on “The Bride” an Iranian song that gave them a taste for what was to come.
The 6 track album is produced by Dan Carey, who, aside from working with both Toy and Bat for Lashes in the past, has also worked with the likes of Steve Mason, Franz Ferdinand and Django Django, to name but a few. Kahn has said that along with Carey, they bought some "old weird psych records from different countries, strange folk mountain songs". Teaming up with Toy, they have come up with an experimental piece that, although having all the hallmarks of days and genres past, pushes boundaries not really explored in these parts. Paradoxically, the result is an authentic original piece that needs to be felt more than listened to.
With all you would expect from a record like this, the hypnotic psychedelic fuzz intertwined with a bit of eastern promise etc., you also have Khans incredible vocals chanting along in an almost witch like manner. The opening track 'Ghoroobaa Ghashangan' has a slow disco beat that would pass for a pop record, but the sleekness of the production ends there. The remaining tracks have more of a raw edge to them and less of the polished finesse.
Without doubt, the closest we get to all things witchery, is on “Helelyos”. With a heavy bass and percussion vibe, it almost drips with evil with Khans subdued, half-cocked chanting that ends with her wailing like a banshee “Our dark girls are setting fire to our souls”. It’s a bit of a chiller and not in the pothouse sense. For the most part, this record will be well received, Khan goes on to show another of her many sides and fans of hers will not be disappointed. For Toy fans, this contribution to the soundscape is their best in a good few years.