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Nachthexen - s/t 10"

Nachthexen were a band (possibly a coven) from Sheffield making fresh, fiery and eminently danceable synth punk. This record follows on and includes re-released songs from their excellent sold out cassette The Other (2015) and the self-titled 7" (2016). Touching on themes of social anxiety and isolation, feminist protest, and sanctuary in sisterhood, the witch is a fitting figure for this sound. Striking, minimalist artwork based on lunar cycle imagery in the band's signature yellow and black adds to an aesthetic of outsider occultism that complements the lyric sheet perfectly. Filter that eeriness through the ferocity of classic punk, and the catchiness of 80s post-punk and new wave - and you start to arrive at somewhere near their sound. Tight and taut drums and bass anchor the songs with sustained rhythms, while the synth soars above and the great, in-your-face vocals push at the forefront.

At times the interplay between rumbling bass and gothic synth takes things to a dark magical place where Goblin's Suspiria, Gary Numan, and post-punks Siekiera might also converge, which I think is pretty remarkable. On the other hand, something of the punchy attitude and ear-worm hooks recalls the spirit of women pushing punk forward in the late 70s and 80s - Kleenex springs to mind, or the rowdy vocals of Suicide Squad. However, I have the feeling that no attempt to settle on an accurate historical comparison for this band could be successful. There is something very new and inimitable about this record's sorcery - and after the 'fuck you' sentiment of the final track 'Cheer Up Luv' builds to a fevered climax, it will stay with you for days.

Harbinger Sound Records