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Steel Yourself Liars At The Witch Trial's step up for a second serving...

Steel Yourself

Liars At The Witch Trial's step up for a second serving...

by Jay Lewis, Reviews Editor
first published: March, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

'The Steel Mill Sessions' is the sound of a band exploring the parameters of what they're capable of, discovering new territories...and making a fabulous record en route.

Steel Mill Sessions

I was recently sent a clip of a DJ on Slovenia's Radio Capodistria discussing Liars At The Witch Trial's single 'Help Yourself' by. Switching between Slovenian and English, the DJ is trying to convey his enthusiasm: "seek em out...their sound is very strong indeed..." He then reverts back to Slovenian and all I can now decipher is a couple of comparisons between the Birmingham-based band and The Kills. 

Maybe it's the fact that Liars At The Witch Trial are a duo with a female lead singer that made the presenter see a link with LA-based garage rock survivors. Maybe it's that Kate Walton also sets her passionate vocals against a wall of howling guitars and thundering drums. Whatever the man at Radio Capodistria was saying though, it was entirely complimentary. 

Liars At The Witch Trial's second album is a smart move forward from their alt-rock, post-punk debut, the greater rapport between the two players is a delight and Kate's ability to experiment and push her voice into new directions is significant. The presence of producer Stale Winton (an artist sometimes known as Thom Edward), is evident from the off. Opener 'Salem' feels urgent and unvarnished in that Steve Albini (think of his work on PJ Harvey's 'Rid of Me'), way. Kate's voice seeming to holler through a megaphone. Adam Wakefield's urgent drumming moved way upfront.  

That interplay is explored more on the snarly funked-up intro of the urgent 'Under Control?', -  and the drama of the shifting tones of seven-minute centrepiece 'Jury's Out' - which can get quite bluesy at times.  'Peacock' is one of the album's great put-downs, a swipe at someone who is being a bit too showy (Kate opens, quite frankly with: 'You're so pretty but there's nothing in your head...'). But it's the ferocious closer 'The End' that is the most snarling and assertive moment here. '...I'm just trying to move on so just let me...' It overflows with the anxious need to move on (the clue is in the title!)  it's an enthralling way to close proceedings. 

'The Steel Mill Sessions' is the sound of a band exploring the parameters of what they're capable of,  discovering new territories - and making a fabulous record en route.  It's probably best to see them before they start spending time with their new Slovenian fan base. 

Essential Information

Liars at the Witch Trial album launch takes place at Muthers Studio, Digbeth - on Saturday 23rd March 2023 at 7 pm - admission £5. 

Steel Mill Sessions is available here.

Jay Lewis
Reviews Editor

Jay Lewis is a Birmingham based poet. He's also a music, movie and arts obsessive. Jay's encyclopedic knowledge of 80s/90s Arts films is a debt to his embedded status in the Triangle Arts Centre trenches back then.

about Jay Lewis »»

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