ALBUM REVIEW: L.A. WITCH Play With Fire on Sophomore LP

This year, Girls Rock Santa Barbara has developed The Summer of Love Internship, its first ever paid internship for teen girls and gender-expansive youth, which allows the organization to continue to provide a safe, collaborative environment in which to encourage lifelong skills like positive peer bonding and self-confident resilience. The internship, which lasts six weeks and pays each intern $500, offers six exciting and arts-focused disciplines: Record Label, Recording Artist, Social Media, Journalism, Photography, and Podcasting. Audiofemme is pleased to publish the following review, written by Emelie Sanchez, an intern from the Journalism program.

Photo Credit: Marco Hernandez

L.A. Witch is a rock band from Los Angeles founded by Sade Sanchez and Irita Pai in 2009. With the release of their sophomore record, Play With Fire, the three-piece, composed of Sanchez on vocals and guitar, Pai on bass, and Ellie English on drums, create a sultry and vintage-sounding album with a strong “fuck you” attitude.

Out today via Suicide Squeeze, Play With Fire is red-hot and saturated with reverb, creating an almost drugged out vibe. Even with the heavy reverb, none of the instruments get lost within each other. It is the perfect sophomore record for a band like L.A. Witch, and it shows their growth from the release of their 2017 self-titled debut and their 2018 EP, Octubre.

Bold, fast album opener “Fire Starter,” blazes forward into “Motorcycle Boy”—a feisty love song inspired by classic cinema outlaws like Mickey Rourke, Marlon Brando, and Steve McQueen. But the album doesn’t dwell in the past, with Sanchez issuing a solemn warning to today’s youth on “Gen-Z”: “Generation Z, this world will make you bleed.” The album blends different genres effortlessly; it’s like time traveling through the different eras of music. They go from country influences (“Dark Horse”, “Maybe the Weather”) to the psychedelic ‘60s (“Gen-Z”), into the early punk scene of the ‘70s (“True Believer”), ending with the damaged art-rock of early ‘80s New York City (“Starred”). 

Play With Fire is a suggestion to make things happen,” said Sanchez in a press release. “Say and do what you feel, even if nobody agrees with your ideas.” The record’s seductive, ephemeral style evokes the films of David Lynch: that feeling of being trapped somewhere familiar but everything is slightly off; randomly stopping into a dingy nightclub in the middle of nowhere. You’re completely bewitched by a woman there, and you know full well you’d do whatever she asked of you, but by the end of the night, she’s missing. Play With Fire will leave you under its spell long after the smoke clears.

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