Track Review – Helelyos / SEXWITCH

After a lot of discussion what SEXWITCH is, it has finally come about that it’s another project for Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Khan, TOY (the shoegaze/post-punk band) and producer Dan Carey. It opens with drums that sound like the beginning of ‘Can’t Stop’ by Red Hot Chilli Peppers, before a funky, repetitive bassline and post-punky guitar by way of TOY step in. Natasha Khan enters the picture, murmuring ‘Helelyos’. True to the ‘witch’ part of the project name, it almost definitely sounds like the soundtrack to a witch coven, complete with fireside yells and spells. Even a couple of whistles here and there can’t break the spell that SEXWITCH cast. Khan is on point with creepy black lyrics, singing ‘We don’t want any strangers to come between us’ and ‘my dark girls are setting fire to our souls’. My only guess is that the ‘dark girls’ are the witches.

My criticism is of the direction the project is taking. Initially reported as a ‘violent’, almost-punk move for Khan, was exactly what I wanted Khan and TOY to do. A sort of Sugarcubes-esque pop-punk would have been exciting and interesting. Clearly, anything could happen next in terms of sound for the band, but on first inspection they sound a lot closer to the comfort zone between Bat For Lashes art-pop and TOY’s krautrock/post-punk. I wanted something extreme, something abrasive. What we have instead is something equally interesting and unique. I’m looking forward to seeing what SEXWITCH have in store for us.

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