Stoner Rock Delight
If smoking weed in a friend’s basement as a teenager had a soundtrack, Sleeping Through the War by All Them Witches would be it. This band from Nashville, Tennessee have been churning out tunes since 2012, but sound as if they’ve been in the stoner rock circuit for a lot longer. With the album’s familiar, repetitive, fuzzy guitars and vocals, played over a backdrop of psychedelic rock, Sleeping Through the War is bound to garner fans within the genre.
Let’s begin with the first song off the album. “Bulls” is a six-minute-long track that starts off echoey, whilst incorporating the sounds of nature and the animals that inhabit the undisclosed outdoor location. Lead singer Charles Michael Parks Jr. starts by singing, “leaves on the promenade / down on the disco floor,” before the song erupts into stoner rock paradise with loud guitar and heavy, unchanging drums. The track “3-5-7” — no, not the store from Mean Girls — is slower, yet still packed with all the neo-psychedelia for which one might hope and dream.
The game changers on this album are in excess. “Bruce Lee” is completely drenched in noise, but with harmonizing that is so subtle to those not listening closely, it will be completely lost. The nods to other genres and music from other cultures are also embedded within the song. About halfway through, Parks’s vocalizing embodies Indian flavors, while the keyboard makes a brief appearance and adds a ’70s, Doors vibe. “Alabaster” and “Cowboy Kirk” also stand out. “Alabaster” is another great song that features impressive harmonizing, but the unsettling lyrics like, “every day is Halloween / I’ve seen the preacher’s real face,” and other bizarre images make it a listen that is both enjoyable and unnerving. The cleverly titled “Cowboy Kirk” is another long track, clocking in at just under seven minutes. It opens with jazzy drums and vocals that are a mix of Sturgill Simpson and Syd Barrett.
Sleeping Through the War is a short listen, but will certainly find permanence within the stoner rock community.