I'm not sure what exactly I expected going into an album titled Family Witchcraft Attack, but I wound up being pleasantly surprised by the type of sound exhibited by Miami-based Pariuh on their 2018 Moniker Records release. Almost immediately upon pressing play, I found myself transported out of 2018's frustrating reality to a sugar-coated fantasy world reminiscent of the type purveyed by various '60s pop outfits or even the more modern releases of the Elephant Six Recording Company.
The album's title track starts off with lonely and murky bass which is soon joined by an almost overpowering, distorted vocal. After a few somewhat unsettling stanzas, the track blossoms into a slightly twisted by more often playful warped pop anthem featuring multiple vocal layers, compellingly strange lyrics, and a bouncy rhythm. Follow up track “Quad” skips the opener's intro section and dives headfirst into chugging noise pop, with walls of warbling and shrieking guitars and another prominent vocal. Toward the end, there's a transition into a section of fingerpicked guitar that captures a whimsical notion of youthful freedom.
Somewhat ironically given its title, “There Ain't No Such Thing As a Free Love” perhaps best replicates the sugary pop of yesteryear, having a more traditional song structure along with dreamy guitar and warm vocal harmonies. Chugging drums provide a nice sense of momentum, and the peppy bridge proves to be a fantastic lead in to the pleasantly hazy chorus. Rhythmic percussion and garbled vocals kicks off album closer “Who Am I Going to Talk To Everyday,” which proceeds to alternate between bursts of chaotic noise and bright pop before heading into an odd midtrack breakdown of spoken word and echoing guitar jangles. A final section finds a relaxing, swaying rhythm punctuated by punchy percussion accents before things end on a sort of anticlimax, just the final twist on an album that delights in taking the listener in all sorts of directions.
Clocking in under 10 minutes, Family Witchcraft Attack is short, and feels it, yet the album certainly would have plenty of appeal to those who enjoy offbeat or psychedelic pop music. I rather like the sometimes heavily mangled vocals throughout the album since they add to the sense of eccentricity and wackiness, and the instrumental parts are generally bright and welcoming, with just the right amount of fuzz and chaos thrown into the mix. In the end, Family Witchcraft Attack probably isn't an essential release, but it's a pleasant enough listen.
7.0 / 10
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