New York native, Cara Beth Satalino leads with her striking vocals and upbeat guitar riffs. The trio is completed by fellow New Yorker, Michael Clancy on drums, and Athen’s Jared Gandy on bass. After wrapping up a month-long tour through Germany, Witches releases their debut, Forever June 21 on Bakery Outlet Records.
The 10-track album opens with the catchy yet cutting “Creature of Nature.” Fun and relaxed, this song will ease you through a creative Saturday afternoon unless you listen too closely to the lyrics. “Chase the stick we throw you,” Witches dares. “Chase the stick and never bring it back.”
A bit of darkness seeps in with “Good Ones” and “Black Dog.” The seriousness of the mood is displayed by prominent bass lines and tempo changes.
The mood swings back upward however when Satalino discusses her resistance to overturning status quo. “I’d rather just relax, pay my dues, pay my tax, and then expire,” she admits. Satalino confesses to all her contemporary revolutionaries, “I’ve got my heart on straight, but my head is in the wrong place.”
Witches pours a lot of heart into the songwriting of Forever. The weakness of the album though is that it comes across as two dimensional, especially upon first listen. The songs might be enhanced by more harmony and variety. “Feed” starts out as something different, with Satalino soloing as vocalist/guitarist in the first half, but then the song ends up sounding similar to all the rest.
Witches does well when featuring a relaxed punk style, as typified in “Forget.” Rhythmically comfortable, but spiked with harsh honesty, Satalino states, “I don’t want to know your name or even what you look like.” The assurance of shadows are enough in this moment. “I just want to feel alright. Yeah, I want to forget.”
One of the most affecting songs of the album, “Never Sez Why” comes across as a reflection on childhood dreams and grownup realities. In stark candor the lyrics assess, “You get what you want, but you hate what you’ve become.”
‘Forever’ finishes with “Grey,” pleasant and pleading, “I want you to stay.” And then the mellow “Disappointment” with disheartened sentiments, “I wanted you to stay. You twist the knife and deny what’s right. It’s a shame you can’t see what you’re doing.”
Things don’t always go according to plan. People sometimes do as they please, completely disregarding all consequence. Lives get interrupted, hearts get broken. But the vital things – truth, love, hope – those are forever.
Free download: Witches – “Creature of Nature”
06.30 • Farm 255 w/Street Eaters (Athens, GA)