In Columbus, the name “Damn The Witch Siren” is synonymous with dark, sexy bubblegum pop. The band, who has been releasing music since 2014, has established a strong fanbase with its intense “witch rock,” and its latest album, Red Magic, has garnered even more praise.
Everything about Red Magic is over-the-top; whether it’s the lyrics that emphasize sex positivity or the heavy synth that reminds me vaguely of Grimes, this album is Damn The Witch Siren doing the absolute most. And while that is intentional on the band’s part, the intensity of Red Magic feels forced at times. The “trying-too-hard” feeling can be overlooked, however, in favor of the album’s electric, dance-y pop.
The album does function well as a somewhat mindless pop-on-steroids album, with bass-heavy beats and electrifyingly sultry synth. It’s upbeat, and it’s nothing if not catchy, but it can feel inauthentic; lead vocalist Bobbi Kitten has a breathy quality that can come across as less sultry than intended. “Feelin’ Myself”, for example, her vocals stand out among an otherwise intense track, but on “Wild Child”, she seems to find her confidence and the lower vocals add to the track’s bolder sound.
On certain songs, it’s clear that the band has achieved its goal of dark-meets-sexy–”Wild Child” and “The Fire, the Flame” are the first to come to mind–and on others, it falls just short of authentic seduction. Still, the shimmering, electronics-heavy dance music is energizing and worth a listen.