I was midway through a write up of their 2017 releases when a new track came landed and knocked them away. Last year saw Victories let ‘Wiccan’ and ‘Mandy Machine’ loose on raw ears, now it’s ‘Fork in the Road’s turn to tear up. The first two are singles I dug out of Spotify. The latter a live video so far streaming only. Their catalogue backs up to 2010.
For a fact off the bat; Each release gets tighter, gets more taught and tougher. In scope and conviction, songcraft, execution. It’s a clear pitched trajectory and timeline and motion.
Wiccan – 2017 (1)
If the latest is to date their pinnacle, ‘Wiccan’ is clear intent. It’s an unpolished slaughter of swagger and launch, lurching and hunched over a gristle of bass. With buzzing and crunch drenched loose gothic western, splashes of organ and smeared backing vocals lift it out it’s mud before crashing back down. Guitars squeal for relief when they don’t back the bass, drums beat a neat track through a wall of washed crashes, the vocals a preacher aggressive in black.
Lay out intent, lift, drop then doubletime; It’s a dangerously close to anthemic design but that’s an ambition for bands that have less.
Mandy Machine – 2017 (2)
If ‘Wiccan’ is the intent, ‘Mandy Machine’s the “So-Take-It”.
Textures get tossed from sandpaper blasts to wurlitzer swirls. Hard dry-heat chugs get hitched up against backing vocals in phaze. Organs get glazed in a place of their own with it’s bright tone no longer a mere underpinning. Washed cymbals finetune and hats clasp hands tighter and the real excitement is it’s sense of just that.
It’s cleaner but only rough-waxed. A tow-rope of a thread gets slackened and jerked around section by section, snapping round corners you wouldn’t expect. Verses and choruses veer off without reason into 60’s organ and surf garage breaks, peppered throughout with vague hints of shoegaze… all the time dressed in that dark southern preaching.
Now it’s 2018 and it’s ‘Fork in the Road’.
Add to the above a new virtue of patience. Production, refinement, aggression held back for parts where it’s most needed then tripled down on once it rears up. Abilities heightened and song structures tightened, live shows and practice and fusions pay off. It’s on that trajectory towards…
It’s a tease for live sessions yet to be released.
It’s a tease for an album to come, there’s a November launch time in mind. I’m told “themes of debauchery and what debauchery hides”, it seems the preacher is coming nigh on high.