Wash the Sins Not Only the Face - Esben and the Witch
Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. 85
    This is a marked improvement on the density of their first effort, and sounds like a band who have grown very sure of themselves in the best way possible.
  2. Feb 7, 2013
    60
    While they haven’t quite found out how to convert that into an entirely compelling experience as an album, Wash the Sins... is still very much a welcome step in the right direction.
  3. Feb 1, 2013
    60
    There are some encouraging if fleeting flickers of light and warmth here that hint there could be more to come in terms of musical development, but for now the group are little more than faithful revivalists of a niche subculture with limited appeal beyond those already converted.
  4. Jan 25, 2013
    70
    Ultimately it's the breaking of a cycle that leads to change and, on this record of both progression and recollection, Esben And The Witch suggest that they haven't yet quite achieved that.
  5. They haven't quite found it yet, but Esben and the Witch have the potential for an arresting and momentous album in them.
  6. Jan 25, 2013
    60
    Despite lacking the gonzo fun of Violet Cries the raw material itself is stronger.
  7. Jan 25, 2013
    80
    The opposite of a sophomore slump, Wash the Sins Not Only the Face is sleek and spectral, and finds Esben and the Witch casting their spell even more successfully.
  8. Jan 24, 2013
    40
    This record passes right through you. [Feb 2013, p.104]
  9. Jan 22, 2013
    60
    The relentless gothic signifiers too often leave you in the cold, wondering why you didn't spend the last 45 minutes enhancing or deepening your more sinister feelings, rather than drowning beneath them.
  10. 60
    Wash the Sins Not Only the Face initially appears to be more of the same from Esben and the Witch. The album's perplexing textures and assured vocals, though, add density to the Brighton trio's desolate mood and sinister themes.
  11. 70
    Call it highbrow, call it highfalutin, but with Wash The Sins, Esben are carving hulking tablets of stone boasting that intellect is nothing to be scared of.
  12. Jan 22, 2013
    71
    Although appealing in a fantasy-genre glutton way, the album feels a little one-dimensional.
  13. Jan 22, 2013
    70
    Esben And The Witch's second LP is a thrilling, goosebump-raising collection of songs that will be in heavy rotation for the rest of the year (and beyond).
  14. Jan 22, 2013
    58
    Wash the Sins is not a logical, concrete progression from Violet Cries and the Hexagons EP, but a competent if ultimately unmemorable reiteration of a message that wasn't particularly strong in the first place.
  15. Jan 18, 2013
    80
    Taken as a whole, it's an arresting step towards the light. [Feb 2013, p.90]
  16. Jan 17, 2013
    60
    When it occasionally feels as if it's on its way to becoming too wispy and wafty, they always pull it back with a deft hand, and this is a record that creeps into the mind.
  17. Jan 16, 2013
    40
    Esben and the Witch seem stuck on an autopilot where any levity is out of bounds and an abyss beckons for all the wrong reasons.
  18. Jan 14, 2013
    80
    Everything about this album is bigger than what has gone before and reveals an energised band with a real belief in what they're doing. Quite right too.
  19. Jan 11, 2013
    60
    Wash the Sins Not Only the Face proves they have the songs to match their mood but too often tend to wallow in kohl-eyed cliche. [Feb 2013, p.71]
  20. Jan 11, 2013
    75
    Where Violet Cries lacked a focal point, Wash The Sins is full of purpose. [Jan-Feb 2013, p.86]
  21. Jan 11, 2013
    80
    Yet at every turn, this new album eschews clichés--any strident shrieking, chanting and cod imagery--for something sleek, fluid and effortlessly modern.
  22. Jan 11, 2013
    90
    An album of chilly, detached beauty.

There are no user reviews yet.