Nihilism Reigns on The Wytches’ ‘All Your Happy Life’
Last Friday, September 30th, The Wytches released their sophomore album, All Your Happy Life. The Brighton, UK-based trio traveled north to Lincolnshire to record with longtime Nick Cave collaborator Jim Sclavunos, before finishing the recording process in London at Toe Rag Studios.
All Your Happy Life is a standout record that sees the band avoiding a “sophomore slump” by focusing on a smaller set of sounds. Contrary to the stereotype of bands losing direction on the follow-up to a highly-acclaimed debut, The Wytches have found something essential in their own sound and narrowed their focus to emphasize it. The surf-influenced riffs of older songs like Anna Dream Reader‘s “Wire Frame Mattress” have been replaced with, as they describe it, “heavy comedown psychedelia and bilious and brilliant baroque ‘n’ roll.”
That heavy psychedelic sound plays a big part on this record, and All Your Happy Life sees The Wytches more effectively incorporating a smaller set of sonic influences to emphasize the dark side of their sound. Two major influences come through on the sound of All Your Happy Life, Elliott Smith and underground metal bands. This is clearest on songs like lead single “C-Side,” whose video is, not unlike the band’s own music, equal parts unsettling and enthralling.
More abstract influences include the writings of Leo Tolstoy and the band’s experience upon returning to Brighton after touring in support of Annabel Dream Reader. These influences coalesce through wails of vocalist Kristian Bell’s and thundering rhythm section of bassist Daniel Rumsey’s and drummer Gianni Honey into an experience both deeply captivating and nihilistic.