Bitch – Bitchcraft: Album Review

Bitch releases Bitchcraft; a collection of wonderful songs augmented with razor sharp lyrics, synths, percussion and violin.

Released: 4th February 2022

Label: Kill Rock Stars

Format: CD / Vinyl / Digital

Bitch achieved early notoriety as one half of the queer folk duo Bitch and Animal who went on to tour with Ani DiFranco, whom they caught the ears of while playing a gig at a pizza shop in Provincetown on Cape Cod. In the mid 2000s, Bitch went solo, and shared stages with the Indigo Girls, acted in the film Shortbus, co-wrote a song with Margaret Cho, produced two albums of her elder folk hero Ferron, and licensed her music to The L Word. 

On the new album Bitch is armed with an arsenal of violins, synthesizers, pulsing percussion and witty lyricism. Bitchcraft takes her sound in a new direction with spectral, heartbreaking, political and beautiful witchy poet pop tracks. Bitch has been enthralling fans with her singular brand of performance throughout her career and Bitchcraft takes her to new heights.

Bitchcraft was born in a move from New York City, where Bitch had lived for 15 years, to a log cabin in the woods. There was all the time in the world to make art, and it was there, in the cabin, that Bitch began to write some of the songs that would appear on Bitchcraft“It gave me space to think about the biggest version of myself that I could be,” she says of those early days in the cabin. The songs she wrote were a departure from anything she’d ever written before, and she began to craft huge pop tracks with the help of her trusty violin. Then, she moved to LA and Bitchcraft began to shapeshift again.
In the years that followed, Bitch assembled a coven to complete it. She called on Anne Preven (Beyonce, Madonna, Demi Lovato) and God-des who helped her crystalize her vision in terms of writing and production. Roma Baran (Laurie Anderson) produced the violins on Polar Bear. She called on Melissa York (Team Dresch, The Butchies) and Faith Soloway (Transparent) to co-write a couple of the songs.

Picture: Dana Lynn Pleasant 

With such talent and a team to help realise the vision, it is no surprise that Bitchcraft is a resounding success. From the off, the album shimmies and sways in different directions. Opener, You’re The Man, is a moving testament to owning your own power set to crashing synths and crushing drums. It has plenty of echoes of Fischerspooner and Miss Kittin.

Easy Target slows the pace a little but the tone of Bitch’s vocal delivery oozes emotion. It is hard not to feel as the song is resonant on so many levels. ‘At the end of the day, I’m just proud,’ sings Bitch. The song is an ode to resilience and strength. We also get a taste of Bitch’s violin on Easy Target – it really adds to the emotion.

More violin is on show on Hello Meadow; a venomous a swipe at industrial capitalists and attempts to find beauty outside of it. There is an Eastern tinge to some of the melodies employed atop the frenetic beat. Pages adopts more violin to showcase Bitch’s folky past – it is supremely catchy. Another Wound follows and musically moves Bitch into schmaltzy ballad territory – let that take nothing away from the truths of the lyrics. This is heartfelt. Bitch displays a fantastic vocal range that again has emotion spraying out of it.

Nothing In My Pockets is a song of exorcism and wanting rid. It takes a darker turn musically and feels like an empowering anthem for those that want a fresh start. Polar Bear puts on view Bitch’s thoughts on the way in which mother nature is being crushed. Exultant voices and pulsing percussion build the song to a glorious rapture.
Bitch’s musical past again rears its head on Fallen Witch 1. Electric violins and voice make for a haunting combination on a piece of instrumental music that wouldn’t be out of place on a witchy horror film soundtrack. Fallen Witch 2 follows a similar pattern but adds more electronics that end up sounding like an electronic Cèilidh. Hateful Thoughts sits in-between the two pieces of music to form a small movement of sorts. Divvy It Up closes out this fantastic album in joyous fashion. Bitch brings together all the threads of the album and closes leaving you wanting more.

Listen to You’re The Man from Bitch, below.

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