SepiaChord.com Review of The Bewitched (Self-Released)
The first, self-titled release by the Minneapolis duo The Bewitched frequently reminds me of growing up in on a farm surviving American Midwest winters. Those days were bitter cold and led to people spend a lot of time bundled into claustrophobic intimacy. Things and people seemed close, but not welcoming.
Mary and Eric are still early in their career so it seems likely that their sound isn't carved in stone yet. But three very strong pieces, "The Dark", "Whisper Softly", and "Unquiet Grave", lend this recording an overall dark-medieval-pop sound. They have a nice infusion of pre-rock instruments (piano, autoharp, dulcimer) with 80's goth. You can see the influence of Dead Can Dance but The Bewitched are more grounded and less operatic. This CD is worth buying for these three songs alone.
As a bonus there's also the pretty piano interlude, "Sleepless Night", and the EP's most upbeat piece: "Selling Salvation". This song uses 20's/30's jazz piano to drive Eric's targeting of religicos who use Prophets to make profits. This isn't a rollicking song though, it's more dragtime than ragtime so it doesn't sound out of place among the other songs. Everyone I play "Selling Salvation" for loves it, Sepiachord's Navigator immediately wanted to use it in a burlesque performance.
The only misstep here is on "Killing Me", the recording's second song. Compared to the other compositions this song comes across as unsubtle and overwrought. But five great songs out of six makes for a wonderful introduction to this band.