Review Summary: reminiscing on old times in it's most bittersweet form
Spencer Radcliffe has been putting out a decent bit of music this past decade, with some great solo efforts lying on the back of run for cover's roster , it's interesting to see his starting roots. Best Witches was an emo band from Chicago, Illinois, being most likely well known from their live performances posted on puddle splashers along side bands such as Nnamndi Ogbonnaya and slow mass. Best Witches never intensely burst on to the scene, developing a sort of cult following down the line in the emo DIY scene but leaving a more than considerable mark on those who found them. Their first and only album wishes gives a loud, fun, ear piercing, and emotionally interesting record. When listening to wishes the first thing i notice is the guitar work throughout, during the album wee hear a very dissonant tone from both guitars throughout which eventually come into harmony during their fun and chaotic songs. When comparing both the guitar work on songs such as "Muffie" and "Heat Moves" you see a very contrasting dynamic between both tones, keys, and how each guitar line compliments each other.
Entering the territory of Spencer's songwriting, we see our lyricist in a tough spot with a lot of songs handling moving away, letting go of old memories, and just growing up and getting out. What Spencer's songwriting offers is great straight forward story telling with strange lyrical structures, especially shown on tracks such as "Me & Hawkins" or "Orange Things". During "Me & Hawkins" in particular we see a stand out performance from the entire band, with quiet tremolos creating a tense atmosphere as Spencer lyrically descents through a soft story eventually unfolding and making his message and purpose clear. Sadly though with all of the strength the guitars, lyricism, drums, etc. hold there are some things which weigh down this record a tad bit.
One of the major things i notice throughout the album is the album structure being somewhat lackluster, especially in the first portion of the record with a song like "Weaver" feeling completely out of place. Sadly some songs come off a little bit underwhelming due to the previous song having such a heavy emotional weight to drop back down into dissonance, while some records do this well (a major one that comes to mind being women's self titled) this sadly does not have a great balance of the dissonance and melody i find scattered through a lot of the record. Along side this some of the bass lines throughout the record at times seem to follow the same formula a lot of emo bands do and it can become a little tiring at time. While the bass does come through at times a lot of the times it feels hidden beneath everything else due to the tendency to follow the guitars and maybe add an extra note but nonetheless it's still a great listen.
Throughout wishes we are offered some of the best songwriting emo has offered in the past decade, with a strange almost twisted sense of story telling, janky lyrical structures, and just an all together great balance of raw emotions. With songs such as "Happy Guys" giving an incredible end to the record and "Heat Moves" having the energy and angst of an old Title Fight song you can't go wrong with this record. This is truly a release that has gone under the radar of a lot of emo fans or DIY fans and it truly is a shame due to how interesting, emotional, and fun this release is. Jumping from emotional high points and bittersweet memories to change and reality can be incredibly difficult to tackle lyrically but everything here is done with such heart and understanding. Truly it is a shame this band had to go so quickly but what was given is without a doubt more than enough, wishes gives itself time and space which sometimes can be difficult when letting out some our rawest emotions musically.