The Wytches - The Black Heart, Camden

And so on a freezing Thursday night I venture for the first time to Camden's latest hip venue, The Black Heart. The purpose is to witness The Wytches launch their new single 'Robe For Juda', but first we have to endure Scottish lads Cold Crows Dead. They wrap sickly sweet pop songs in a melancholic air of world-weary depression, but take forever to do so. The melodies are excruciating, and the dour tunes drag on interminably, with only the occasional burst of menace to lighten the tone. Even the singer running off to wail from on top of the merch stand does little to interest a very bored audience.

Moving swiftly onto the main attraction, the room fills up almost immediately. The Wytches do not disappoint as they tear through a blistering set, one filled with crowd favourites like 'Digsaw' and 'Beehive Queen'. Channelling an old school spirit, they still really are quite unlike any of their heroes. Drawing primarily on surf rock but twisting it almost out of recognition, they retain the knack for a smart melody, but make it gloriously heavy and psychedelic.

Frontman Kristian Bell does, however, take an age between songs, with precious little interaction to keep the crowd entertained during these down periods. But once they fire back up again, all is forgiven. The (first) finale of 'Crying Clown', drawn out in a heady mix of feedback and moshing, is the cue for utter bedlam and proves that The Wytches are one of the most exciting new bands around; a killer live band that few of the contemporaries are be able to compete with.

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