SEXWITCH: SEXWITCH (Echo/Bmg) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, September 21st, 2020  




Oct 09, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

SEXWITCH's groove is impossible to ignore. For a collaboration between Bat For Lashes' dark queen Natasha Khan and shoegaze-psych masters Toy, these six recordings are infinitely looser than their creators' back catalogues suggest. Given that almost every track is a reworking of an age-old folk songexcavated from the likes of Iran, Morocco, and Thailandthe results are even more impressive.

While maintaining each song's original emotional stirring, Khan and co emboss their own distinctly modern sheen across each arrangement. "Ha Howa Ha Howa" sets a sensuous tone. A primitive awakening of drum and synthesizers, Khan's bewitching staccato chant rises into a feral and highly sexualized apogee. "War in Peace" is similarly unhinged; a strident guttural swell over which she unleashes a bewitching, ear-scraping wail.

Sonically, the record mesmerizes and thrills in equal measure. In particular, the eight-minute primal stomping of "Kassidat El Hakka" bursts into life as a thrusting, propulsive scar of Moroccan melody, underpinned by Khan's ever present mantra: "When I die I'll go back to what I was." It's austere in tone, sure, but it's extraordinary to hear, like a tide of primordial energy crashing deafeningly into the modern age.

Which may just be the point. Despite their archaic origins, songs such as "Lam Plearn Kiew Bao" and "Helelyos" are robust enough in story and song to flourish under the caress of two contemporary artists. And for all its groove, for all its brilliance, the most impressive thing about SEXWITCH is just how essential its contents continue to sound. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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