Florida’s heavy punk-ish band Night Witch has something to say. Their 2018 release Who’s Next combines shrieking, furious vocals with absolutely relentless music and leaves the listener spinning. It feels impossible to listen to this release and not get something out of it. If you’re an open minded music listener and don’t feel at home with the album at first listen, go turn it on again.
Front person Rosie Richeson lets the listener in on guttural psychological processes with her work on the album. Sounding like she’s holding absolutely nothing back, she shares through her screamed vocals stories of recovering from trauma on a personal level and a collective one. She sounds sick of those who take advantage of people, including herself, in her personal circles, and she’s also sick of the hatred that feels embedded in our society. She’s not here to talk and mill around. She’s here to move forward, and those interested in similar aims can easily feel at home in the music.
As for those who aren’t interested in similar aims — well, she doesn’t sound interested in sitting around and having a conversation with someone who thinks that maybe sexism and related issues in our modern world aren’t such problems after all.
Although Richeson’s vocals do figure prominently in the music, they don’t drown everything else out. Her band mates sound strikingly energetic, adding texture and further depth to the words and broader sentiments that Richeson shares. It’s worth noting that Richeson’s vocal style allows some of the sentiments she shares to shine through very clearly without at all detracting from her energy, so that helps the band be “loud and clear” as well.
The instrumental section of the band sounds concerned almost solely with pushing forward, so to speak. There’s no sludge metal here, it’s all refreshingly in your face punk. Even when the music turns strikingly “dark” it just keeps going and going.
In that light, the musical side of the album and the thematic side feel strikingly synergised. Even in the midst of the mayhem, there’s no disconnect or spiraling out of control (although for music that works sometimes too). Who’s Next is a strikingly forward work of art that, in the end, pushes you, the listener, forward too.
Listen below via Bandcamp.