After the success of their self-titled debut, there has been much anticipation but also pressure on the L.A. Witch with the release of their follow up, Play With Fire. Somewhat of a bolder and more confident sound to their last, this new LP has a different strategy altogether to that of their last record.
Between their touring schedule, studio availability, and the timeline for releasing records, L.A. Witch found themselves with a mere two months to do most of the writing for this new album Play With Fire. They holed up for January and February, essentially self-quarantining for the writing process before March’s mandatory COVID shutdown. “As far the creative process goes, this record is a result of sheer willingness to write,” says Sanchez. “When you sit down and make things happen, they will happen, rather than waiting to be inspired.” The time constraints and focused writing sessions ultimately forced the band into new territories. “I’ve definitely learned that having restrictions forces you to think outside the box,” says Pai. “That structure really brings about creativity in an unexpected and abundant way.”
The tracks themselves are punchy and weighty with opener, Fire Starter, which has attitude, and stance, and Motorcycle Boy, which revs up like a beast. With a riff you wouldn’t want to mess with, the second track zooms along at a nice pace, and establishes the deliberate mission statement. “Play With Fire is a suggestion to make things happen,” says Sanchez. “Don’t fear mistakes or the future. Take a chance. Say and do what you really feel, even if nobody agrees with your ideas.” Track three, Dark Horse, is a personal stand-out as it combines psychedelic breakdowns with folk and western tendencies, and not forgetting a little blues guitar. You think it’s not going to get any better and then comes on I Wanna Lose. Catchy, punky and with a repetitiveness that will see it ingrained in your head, it’s a release track.
Gen-Z, however holds darker Amazing Snakehead style tones, as Sanchez explores the rise suicide rate in a generation raised with social media between lashings of air-raid siren guitar leads. Maybe the Weather resorts back to folk, a minor-key country tune combined with enough sound glitches to vary the sound along with backward slide guitar, and heady production techniques.. All in all, it makes for one of the best tracks on Play With Fire. And as the album continues, we are force-fed many other genres, anyone might say these culminate the crux of American music culture.
Play With Fire validates L.A. Witch as a band with the bold stamp of a second album. Reflective whilst simultaneously contemporary the band have succeeded in creating an interesting and varied work, that across the breadth of the album will allow to get a sense of the attitude of this band. There is an optimism in making things happen and that they have with this LP. Hopefully the confidence spreads like osmosis with every listen, but I urge you to take the risk, whether that’s true or not. There’s no denying Play With Fire is a fantastic record, that is many ways screams USA.
Play With Fire is out now, via Suicide Squeeze Records