Lovecraft – Häxan (Witchfinder Records)

Liverpudlian prog-pop unit deliver glorious debut single

Released Oct 14th, 2013 via Witchfinder Records / By Richard Lewis
Lovecraft – Häxan (Witchfinder Records) Their first release since 2011 debut album Whistle And I’ll Come To You, My Lad, Liverpudlian psych-proggists Lovecraft issue two exacting slices of cosmically inclined off kilter pop perfectly timed for Hallowe’en.

Inspired by the cult 1922 Danish feature of the same name, (known in English by the splendid documentary-style title Witchcraft Through The Ages), ‘Häxan’ is none-more suited to the fast approaching All Hallow’s Eve, an anthem of solidarity dedicated to ‘the witches in the sky’.

Swimming into view via a clamourous tuning up section, a ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ style drumbeat enters and a series of refracted guitar figures swim round lead singer Craig Sinclair’s Jarvis-esque croon. A mini-opus that unfolds over four minutes, the track builds superbly to take in massed voices, strings and woodwind, a spot-on example of what used to be termed a pocket symphony.

A review of a recent Belle & Sebastian B-sides compilation lamented that the collection is likely to be one of the last of its kind as the humble supporting feature slowly slips into obsolescence in the single-track iTunes age. The present band clearly have other ideas in mind, dispatching a flip side almost as strong as the main attraction.

Switching focus entirely ‘Aneurin’ is an eccentric homage to the Attlee-era Labour Party big wheel Nye Bevin, almost certainly the first time the NHS pioneer has been celebrated in song. Opening with John Carpenter Assault on Precinct 13 style synths and a tiptoeing glockenspiel figure, proceedings quickly tumble into a phantasmagorical swirl of backwards guitars deftly steered round the changes by nimble drumbeats.

The couplet ‘I’ve seen your life flash before my eyes/I’ve seen your life and I liked it more than mine’ meanwhile somehow manages to gently optimistic instead of resigned.

Both tracks combine to be magical enough to have melted even Matthew 'Witchfinder General' Hopkins’ heart all told.