Review | Songlines

The Witching Tale

Rating: ★★★

View album and artist details

Album and Artist Details


The Witching Tale


Belissima Records


I’m afraid I was all too ready to dismiss this eponymous debut album as just so much airy-fairy hokum. The purple prose of the press release didn’t help to dispel this impression, describing the album as ‘a black celebration of the magical power of eroticism.’ And yet, listening to these ten tracks in the days leading up to Halloween, two thoughts occurred to me. First, this is the perfect soundtrack for Halloween; (remember that next October). Second, the music is intriguing and – dare I say – enchanting.

The Witching Tale are Michael J York (synths, bagpipes, piano, hurdy-gurdy and a host of other instruments) and Katharine Blake (vocals and recorders.) Blake is best known as a founding member of Mediaeval Baebes. The blend of multi-layered analogue synths, traditional instruments and Blake’s flawless voice creates a powerful atmosphere redolent of folk horror. Tracks like ‘The Falling Garden’, with its off-kilter harmonies and straggling recorders, could be music from The Wicker Man or Children of the Stones. If hauntological curiosities are your thing, you too may fall under The Witching Tale’s spell.


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