There Are Witches In The Woods
Fonal Records breaks new ground with its first-ever release by a band based outside its native Finland. Pretty Lightning's debut LP proper (following the 2008 tour-only CD-R released by a tiny Mississippi-based noise label), There Are Witches In The Woods could also be seen as a departure stylistically -- although in truth, such finely-honed aesthetics still comfortably align it with the Fonal roster. Pretty Lightning was formed in 2007 by two childhood friends, Christian Berghoff and Sebastian Haas, who grew up together in a small town in Southwest Germany, before relocating to Saarbrücken, a slightly bigger small town. In essence a raw, psychedelic-blues duo that on the surface could be seen as kindred spirits to the likes of Wooden Shjips or Moon Duo, Pretty Lightning also appear to mirror a freak-folk sensibility found in the likes of Sunburned Hand Of The Man and their Stateside compatriots. But they also reflect their closer geographic roots -- echoing the communal, ritualistic Krautrock of Amon Düül II or perhaps the primitivism of Sweden's International Harvester (both Berghoff and Haas are also part of the Saarlouis-based Datashock collective). But if such comparisons serve to place the band in some kind of loose context, they should not undermine such a heartfelt outcome, nor steer the listener away from the band's melodic leanings. There Are Witches In The Woods delivers hooks and harmonies on a grand scale. Recorded in Autumn 2010, the album is the result of the band shutting itself away in a cavernous room to capture the breadth of their sonic vision. Formed around a crux of drums, vocals and a variety of guitars, the arrangements are bolstered by shruti-drones, organ loops and Theremins, giving a sense of space and scope to 11 sweet, succinct chapters, and the album as a whole. Pretty Lightning are set to tour in support of the album throughout 2012, with further recordings planned later in the year.