Picture this, a lurking figure somewhere in the shadows of a post apocalyptic metropolis, the glow of a lit cigarette and the reflection of a blade lighting the alleyway as he flips it from hand to hand. Blue smoke clouding overhead, the air is thick, a woman shrieks in the near distance as an intriguing sound heard through a puncture in a nearby wall bellows. The mortar unshackles itself from between slabs and falls to the floor as bass snarls the scene and vocalist Kris Buscombe chokes the still silence with his psychotic ramblings of Jock the Untold. If the landscape wasnít chilling enough before this noise was heard then it certainly is now. This is the demeanour of Witch Hats. Attitude, menacing, unpredictable yet strangely, you canít look away. The youthful four piece has been lurking the many dens around Melbourne and Sydney for quite some time now, and if youíve happened to catch them youíd be familiar with their discordant yet somewhat pop orchestrations and unscrupulous live approach. If you havenít, itís high time you should.
The Witch Hats story is one of grave secrecy, what can be divulged is this: There is no ĎTheí in Witch Hats, that the bands first tour ended with an all-in-brawl that resulted in the venue shutting down, that their second tour oddly contributed to and consequently (through a bizarre twist of circumstance) resulted in them getting us banned from Slash's bar in New York (donít askÖ) And that their third tour saw guitarist Tomas P. Barry getting mugged while turning twenty, bassist Ash falling in love, and a venue paying them not-to-play (after hearing the sound-check), and an innumerable number of other unspeakable and debauched events.
So itís with a wicked grin that Witch Hats release their debut EP Wounds of a Little Horse out November 11th on In-Fidelity. Itís a polished up recording of the bands first self released demo. The five tracks have been re-recorded by ex-Birthday Party skinsman, Phill Calvert and Ben Ling. The artwork pays irreverent homage to the banned Beatles 'Butcher' cover, and was photographed in an abandoned orphanage in St Kilda.
INSTANT JUDGEMENT: These guys are good, too fucking good. Jock The Untold is a noir gem personifying the dark alleyways of which these "Witch Hats" are trying to guide us away from. Kris manically delivers each line like a lunatic tossing a knife from one hand to the other... creating a brilliant atmosphere and soul of which too many Australian bands lack.
BEAT: Witch Hats are probably the best new band in Melbourne right now, if not Australia (and perhaps also the universe). The filthiness and the creepiness of their sound is full of conviction, and a reluctance to conform to any standards set by any of their Melbourne 'indie' counterparts; they don't give a fuck. They know they're more real than most. Any influences that may be apparent are exactly that; just influences. They put in their contribution, pay their dues; they add something new - which is the important part. Point is, these guys are as nasty as Old Jamaican Dark Chocolate yet melodic, clever and good humoured. Their combined record collection would put any Vice-Magazine-Flavour-of-tha-month elitist to shame, and it comes through in their music. It is real.
SOLAR/SONAR: Witch Hats spewed forth their sinewy rock with projectile velocity. They look like children destroying toy instruments but echo something that sounds as complex as The Pixies. They play predominantly from their recently recorded EP, and I am reminded once again of how perfect their songs are. If organized religion aint producing results for you then this band are something new to invest faith in. They wont let you down.
RIOT: Melbourne's Witch Hats are a ridiculously good live act. They often bleed during shows and exude an almost animalistic tenacity and passion. They have a subversive approach, both in sound and attitude, and combine this with an underlying songwriting skill and dark, twisted sense of humour. Jangly, wiry guitars teeter on the brink of fits whilst the rhythm section breaks cymbals and Kris Buscombe psychotically delivers a screamy battering to the eardrums... Discordance meets pop. Wired!