Wash the Sins Not Only the Face

  • Record Label: Matador
  • Release Date: Jan 22, 2013

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
Buy On
  1. Jan 25, 2013
    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.
  2. Jan 11, 2013
    Yet at every turn, this new album eschews clichés--any strident shrieking, chanting and cod imagery--for something sleek, fluid and effortlessly modern.
  3. They haven't quite found it yet, but Esben and the Witch have the potential for an arresting and momentous album in them.
  4. Jan 14, 2013
    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.
  5. 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.
  6. Jan 22, 2013
    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).
  7. Jan 16, 2013
    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.
  8. Jan 22, 2013
    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.
  9. Mojo
    Jan 18, 2013
    Taken as a whole, it's an arresting step towards the light. [Feb 2013, p.90]
  10. Feb 1, 2013
    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.
  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. Feb 7, 2013
    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.
  13. Jan 22, 2013
    Although appealing in a fantasy-genre glutton way, the album feels a little one-dimensional.
  14. Jan 22, 2013
    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 25, 2013
    Despite lacking the gonzo fun of Violet Cries the raw material itself is stronger.
  16. Q Magazine
    Jan 24, 2013
    This record passes right through you. [Feb 2013, p.104]
  17. Jan 11, 2013
    An album of chilly, detached beauty.
  18. Jan 17, 2013
    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.
  19. 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.
  20. Jan 25, 2013
    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.
  21. Uncut
    Jan 11, 2013
    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]
  22. Jan 11, 2013
    Where Violet Cries lacked a focal point, Wash The Sins is full of purpose. [Jan-Feb 2013, p.86]

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