Single Review: Pendulum – ‘Witchcraft’

Everyone has their specialities, or party-pieces, or signature things or whatever you want to call them; the little things they show off when trying to impress people, like downing however much alcohol in one go, or reciting the 7 times tables stupidly fast, (not speaking from personal experience, OF COURSE) and there’s plenty of these examples in music.

Michael Jackson and his glove, Jamiroquai and his hats, Bono and his shades, Pendulum and their non-stop, energetic, dancefloor thunder-storms they use to fool us public into thinking are actual songs. Oh yes, everyone in music has to have a ‘signature’ move, pose, voice, look, sound etc, etc. Pendulum have a sound. A very big sound. The problem is, Pendulum have always done non-stop, energetic, dancefloor thunder-storms for their single releases, and it’s only a matter of time before they start to repeat themselves.

Rarely straying from the big, loud and fast/bigger, louder and faster options of their rocky, drum and bass masterpieces, guess which of those this song ‘Witchcraft’ is. Yep, it’s one o’ them bigger, louder and faster ones, which means it’s probably not going to mesh well with many ears.

Luckily for them, it meshes well with these ears, very well. So well in fact, that I think this is the best thing Pendulum have ever done, mixing the abnormalities of ‘Hold Your Colour’ with the poppier, more commercial sound of ‘In Silico’. It echoes a bit of ‘Propane Nightmares’ in the big, main riff section (not the part that sounds euphoric when the drums first come in, I’m talking about the really fast bassy bit that comes after it… kinda sounds like C3-PO on ecstasy)

The song is brilliant, it’s fast, it’s furious, it doesn’t sacrifice anything Pendulum hold dear so that it can come across more commercial. After the lukewarm ‘Watercolour’, this sees Pendulum return to their proper drum ‘n’ bass roots, meaning it’s probably not going to go Top 5 like it’s predecessor.

With Rob Swire offering another emotional vocal performance in a strangely over-pronounced accent the first part can fool you into thinking Pendulum have gone soft, but less than a minute in you’re surrounded by a blanket of synths and drums, not the kind of blanket that you sleep in either, I’m talking about a blanket of bombs dropped from planes above. Unexpected, the drums explode in your ears like an 808 that’s had too much espresso before bed.

As is the norm, there’s only so much you can do with a song like this, there’s the intro, the secondary riff, and the main riff. Then, because it’s Pendulum, they add another synth toward the end for good measure, and to heighten the ultra-dramatic going’s to make sure you get as hyperactive as the song it’s self. It all builds up to a hugely typical Pendulum end. One loud drum beat and a chord to echo out. Neat stuff.

And if the song isn’t energetic enough, check out the video, which sees these band 1) Fix their broken Nintendo Wii, 2) Not make a pentagram too obivious, 3) Remind people that some music videos need health warning for epileptics.

It’s nice to see that Pendulum are becoming more mainstream, even if they had to go through the ‘In Silico’ era and ‘Watercolour’ to get this attention, Pendulum are now being respected as they are bringing drum ‘n’ bass into the mainstream. With ‘Witchcraft’ though, they may slip out of this mainstream because the song is too ‘them’.

And if that’s not upsetting, then I don’t know what is.

Rating: 4.5 STARS

Download: July 19, 2010 (OUT NOW)

Featured Album: ‘Immersion’

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