Witch

Paralyzed (Tee Pee)

There are concept albums, and then there are concept bands. Witch is the latter, a leftfield side project formed by Dinosaur Jr.'s J. Mascis and old friend Dave Sweetapple and filled out by Feathers' Kyle Thomas and Asa Irons. The idea? Play the hell out of garage-kicked, weed-saturated, '70s-style hard rock. But there's a twist: Guitar god Mascis gets behind the drums for the first time since other side project Gobblehoof in 1990. With Sweetapple donning bass, Thomas and Irons picking up guitars, and Thomas stepping to the mike, Witch issued a stormy self-titled debut in 2006. The group is back for seconds now, and its sound is painfully familiar.

For starters, Paralyzed's "1000 Mph" is packed with roadster and biker clichés. The barreling opener "Eye" hits wild-eyed heights of guitar cheese in its midsection, and you can ascertain where "Psychotic Rock" will go before it even starts. Mascis' drumming works fine as the battered engine for Witch's propulsive, stream-of-consciousness slop, but Thomas' sleepy moaning is a weak link. However atmospheric, stoner rock has one true test of worth: Does it still sound good when you're sober? In the case of Paralyzed, the answer is no.

 
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