The Witches

On Parade

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The ever-prolific Troy Gregory, grand warlock of Detroit psych-fuzz pop outfit the Witches, had enough material in him at the end of 2001 to record both a solo effort and On Parade within six months of each other. While Sybil found Gregory backed by a coterie of varied Detroit rock bands (one per track), On Parade is all Witches, continuing the coalescence of purpose that has been brewing ever since the group's lineup solidified on the brilliant Universal Mall. Recorded on the fly (seven days for ten tracks), On Parade has a loose-limbed energy and an engaging liveness that cuts through the echo and freak effects. Guitarists John Nashinal and Eugene Strobe are allowed plenty of space to buzz and howl, and they take the band to Stones-ier heights and seedier lows even when the vibe is at its poppiest. As always, Gregory's stream-of-consciousness lyrics meander around the listener's brain in maddening circles until they suddenly make sense, with a bluesy psychosis to his delivery that turns his obsessions with ghosts and invisibility into the stuff of AM radio poetry. This isn't to say that the Witches are permanently lost in the netherworld; at times their grooves are as physical as any of their Motor City rock brethren. The band's penchant for being photographed while smoking cigarettes doesn't hurt either, offering up proof that they revel in the realm of the flesh as well as the spirit. While there aren't as many standout tracks as previous Witches documents, On Parade is a worthy successor, going even further toward forging an entirely original sound out of the debris of '60s psychedelia and children's television programs of the 1970s.

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