venerdì 13 maggio 2011
Witness "Under A Sun"
Cambiavano decisamente registro gli Witness con il secondo disco. Un lavoro molo più clado, solare, accogliente. Con i REM a fare da faro guida. Un disco che merita attenzione e grande rispetto. (2001 Island)
Under a Sun sounds suspiciously like the beginning of something marvellous. Were the casual listener unaware of Witness's history, they would assume that its five members were floppy-fringed, suede-jacketed college kids from somewhere on America's West Coast who'd grown up listening to Dream Syndicate, the Long Ryders, Uncle Tupelo, R.E.M. and their parents' Byrds records.
It is both a shock and a supreme testament to Witness's determination and talent for self-invention to discover that they hail, in fact, from Wigan. Under a Sun, Witness's second album, is everything their proverbially drab hometown is not: radiant, warm, charming and powerfully upbeat.
This is a record unafraid of wearing its enormous throbbing heart on its sleeve, the arrangements aiming for a majesty comparable with R.E.M.'s Document or U2's The Unforgettable Fire, and getting fairly close on a commendable number of occasions. (Andrew Mueller - http://www.amazon.co.uk)
For much-touted Next Big Things, Witness' 1999 debut album 'Before The Calm' was a bleak work lacking in tunes. Relocating to Bristol, and bringing in ex-Strangelove multi-instrumentalist Julian Pransky-Poole has, however, transformed them.
Witness may still trade in (faintly) countrified indie-rock but 'Under A Sun' reveals a band capable of writing pithy pop songs.
A band who don't moulder, but smoulder before exploding into insistent choruses which, despite misgivings you might have about such radio-friendly guitar rock, ultimately win you over. A band who've discovered something of The Verve's slide-guitar swagger.
Granted, it's old men's music.
But, where Stereophonics' Kelly Jones seems intent on paring everything down to absolute basics, Witness are weaving ornate tapestries.
The subtle complexity and warmly wistful tone of 'Closing Up' isn't a million miles from Elbow's 'Scattered Black And Whites', while 'My Time Alone' is the best single REM never wrote; chords crashing and splashing in a melancholic Californian sun.
Although it takes too long to get going and is not without its dodgy moments ('Mines'' almost pastiche country tinges, or slight should-be-B-side 'Warning', for instance), 'Under The Sun' has an honesty, depth and a winning Big Music communality that could weedle its way into Britain's affections. (Tony Naylor - http://www.nme.com/)
Witness can already lay claim to having a place in my heart thanks to the plaintive complexity, emotional depths and honesty found within 'Before The Calm', the debut. The follow up just increases the love affair.
I cannot justify the wonder of music this good. My words will only hack a rough tomb to what is a true masterpiece.
The nervous ball of excitement at just how good this is, is tearing it's way through my veins, this album is my intravenous drip.
It's an album of delicate subtlety, which over the course of several listens has tightened it's grip round my throat and is showing no signs of letting go.
The stand out track was to be 'You Are All My Own Invention', but to say one track truly stands out from the rest is derogatory to the others.
The album oozes warmth and emotion, 'Avalanche', 'My Boat', 'Pushchair', the title track 'Under A Sun' the list is simply endless. Each song merely confirming the greatness that precedes it.
Musically, Witness would nestle somewhere between 'Starsailor' and 'The Charlatans'. Although comparison is unfair as Witness are occupying a time and space all of their own creation.
By definition Witness are the guitar band that never made it. Too small in the cavernous aftermath of 'Travis' and 'Stereophonics' and too early for the chart acceptance of 'Coldplay'.
Witness, however have remained true to their cause and in 'Under A Sun' have created something truly flawless. (Neil Leeds - http://drownedinsound.com/)
- Here's One For You
- You Are All My Own Invention
- Dividing Line
- Under A Sun
- Till The Morning
- Closing Up
- My Time Alone
- Warning Song
- So Here Be Well Again
- My Boat