Last year, Wiltshire-based post-rock trio Thought Forms joined Esben And The Witch and the mighty Teeth Of The Sea for a triple headed tour around the UK. At the Bristol leg of the tour, Charlie from Thought Forms revealed to RW/FF that they were planning a split LP with Esben, a prospect that left me waiting for this with much anticipation. Its arrival doesn’t disappoint, as both bands deliver sides that compliment the other brilliantly and fit together cohesively as a whole. The first side of this Invada-issued piece of vinyl belongs to Thought Forms, who begin with the patient, intricate drumwork and ghostly ambience of ‘Your Bones’. Sullenly atmospheric guitars ring through an ethereal mist as the icy glide of carefully applied vocals ascends throughout, before erupting into heavier moods.
It’s followed by the storming ‘Sound Of Violence’, which is almost like all of their previous ‘Ghost Mountain’ LP all rolled into one concise helping of dynamic power, brimming with aggression, fierce guitars, and a superb nagging hook. Going off with a bang from the outset is the excellent ‘For The Moving Stars’, where the thriving energy, zippy riffs and MBV flavours provide a brilliant moment that’s as accessible and immediate as this band have ever sounded. They switch to a lower gear for the tortured, downbeat Sonic Youth-meets-Nirvana vibes and howling guitars of ‘Silver Kiss’, rounding off side A in bleak fashion.
Turn the record over, and it’s apparent that Esben And The Witch aren’t fucking about. From the moment it bursts in, it’s their astonishing ‘No Dog’ that provides the record’s highlight, a deep, intense blast of ferocity and claustrophobia, pushing forwards with menacing momentum and awesome melodrama. While their friends dished out four tracks on side A, Esben choose to give their side of the record to two fearsome epics. The second of these comes in the form of the unsettling closer ‘Butoh’, where sinister atmospheres and the rumblings of post-punk excitement throw the listener into a world of rhythmic warfare, raging feedback thundering into the ears like an audio earthquake.
Although it’s length and split LP status makes it feel a bit like a gap-bridger in places and perhaps a warm up for what’s to come next from both parties, if you’re a fan of either band, you’d be an absolute fool not to add this to your record shelf. For everyone else, I’d say this is a great place to start. Rating: