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Damn The Witch Siren Return With ‘Gothic Summer’

The northern hemisphere might be wallowing in the throes of coldest winter, but Damn The Witch Siren are already dreaming of summer, albeit a fittingly gothic one, with their new single “Gothic Summer.”

“Gothic Summer” is a warm and welcome growth spurt in the Columbus, Ohio duo Damn The Witch Siren’s already highly developed and complex sound. The group, while deeply rooted in an EDM sound, roll with a rocking backbeat, flirt with electric guitar blooms, and deliver a live performance that’s on par with some of the best live rock performers this side of MUSE. Their latest LP Red Magic, was a great collection of rock tinged electronica that played brilliantly live. Instead of replicating that album’s successes though, as many a lesser dedicated and talented group would do, DTWS strike out in a new direction. Relying on their innate strengths, namely their great songwriting ability, Bobbi Kitten’s voice, and Z Wolf’s beats, the group introduce completely new elements into their repertoire with “Gothic Summer” that take their sound to the next level.

For anyone that spent hours listening to Red Magic, bathing aurally in its sleek beats and warm throbbing bass lines, the acoustic guitar that opens “Gothic Summer” is a shock. It’s the kind of shock that, instead of jarring you, invokes the type of sublime frisson that lets you know that you’re witnessing a moment of artistic evolution that, while you have to revel in it, immediately leaves you craving what’s next. While DTWS’ sound has always had an organic appeal to it that somehow not only thrives but blooms amidst (and despite) its electronic and machine washed sound, the acoustic guitar in “Gothic Summer” introduces a warm elemental aspect to their sound that brings it to the fore.

The song doesn’t eschew DTWS’ signature electronica elements though. As Bobbi and Z Wolf  described, when I asked DTWS about the new single, “Gothic Summer features acoustic guitar, bowed wine glasses and a sampled orchestra, then breaks down into analog synth and a trap beat.” The orchestral elements, especially those that form the outtro’s crescendo, create more space in the song than DTWS have effectively explored in the past. Even the electronic beats are spaced far enough apart to allow the music to beautifully evoke the song’s title and theme of a wide “gothic” summer sky. The organic musical elements along with the electronic machine driven ones create a powerful sound that shifts the landscape of DTWS’ sound. Again, DTWS themselves put it best, “I think the juxtaposition is really exciting and the song has a more cinematic/widescreen feel than we’ve previously achieved.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

The sonic shift towards the elemental that DTWS employ in “Gothic Summer” might not be their only foray this year into slightly more drum, bass, and guitar rooted sound. “We’re just hoping to branch out a lot more with our music this year, sonically and emotionally. We’ll still be using lots of electronics but we’re planning to incorporate more guitars, bass, real drums, and analog synthesis, and more focus on sampling and creating our own sounds” related Bobbi and Z Wolf when discussing their future releases, more of which (thankfully) appear to be coming later this year. I, for one, cannot wait to hear what they come up with next, especially when they crank up the tempo and volume, and plug the guitars in…or not. Either way, and anyway, DTWS continues to impress while widening their appeal, remaining true to their vision, and demanding your attention.  

“Gothic Summer” is available across streaming platforms Friday 1-25-19.

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Carolina's based writer/journalist Andy Frisk love music, and writing, and when he gets to intermingle the two he feels most alive. Covering concerts and albums by both local and national acts, Andy strives to make the world a better place and prove Gen X really can still save the world.

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