The follow-up to Witching Waves’ 2014 debut Fear Of Falling Down sees the London three-piece navigate towards a more focused vision. On Crystal Cafe, the trio’s heightened confidence is manifested in myriad ways: while Fear Of Falling Down‘s breezy chaos was as successful as it was haphazardly created (the band themselves admit that the making the first album was like a “crazy idea, concept, like a dare or something”), their second LP is a markedly more accomplished and considered take on the noise-pop aesthetic.
That’s not to say that Crystal Cafe forgoes the band’s propensity for unembellished discord; thankfully, everything here remains wonderfully unrefined. Their tendency to veer from typical vehemence to comparably meek introspection on the occasional instrumental and closing track ‘Flowers’ adds nuance and variety.
Emma and Mark’s dual vocals juxtapose brilliantly – from calm composure to pissed-off petulance – and there are some real, enduring guitar-pop songs here; their aptitude for combining melody with belligerence being the most triumphant facet.
It would be too easy to denounce a band like Witching Waves as copyists of a sound that’s been done to death, but their ability to create abrasive, no-nonsense pop is instantly likeable, and as unchallenging as it is, there can never be enough good pop records in the world.