All Them Witches

Sleeping Through the War

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The Nashville-based quartet's fourth studio long-player, and second for New West Records, Sleeping Through the War is All Them Witches' most fully realized set to date, a sprawling yet remarkably focused effort that takes their exploratory, often spliced-together work ethic in a more stridently song-oriented direction. That's not to say that the band has abandoned the bluesy, promethean space rock of prior outings -- you can practically smell the smoke wafting into the control room during the hypnotic "Alabaster" and the rootsy, nearly ten-minute closer, "Internet" -- but less proto-metal offerings like "Don't Bring Me Coffee" and "Bruce Lee" evoke Queens of the Stone Age far more than they do Hawkwind. There's some significant sonic heft at play here as well, thanks in part to the presence of Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb (Sturgill Simpson, Shooter Jennings, Jason Isbell), who provides ample vistas for the band to probe, but is quick to administer a bit of contrast when things get a little too far out. Sleeping Through the War is at its best when it strikes a balance between atmosphere and songcraft, which it does to great effect on the beguiling opener, "Bulls." Anchored by a descending, OK Computer-era Radiohead-worthy melody and propelled to greatness by a thunderous stoner metal chorus that deftly utilizes the ghostly voices of notable Music City sirens Caitlin Rose, Tristen, and Erin Rae, it makes for an audacious opening volley. Thankfully, the rest of the album follows suit.

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