Words by Ali Waite @alister_88
Folklore suggests that ‘the witching hour’ is the time when apparitional experiences are most common between the hours of 2-4am, coinciding with a 3am peak in the quantity of melatonin in the body. Personally, I just think you need a couple of pints of Arundel Gold and a visit to Clapham Woods on the outskirts of Worthing at any time of day and you’re guaranteed to hear screams and cross paths with headless horseman. Starting with a tip of the hat to ‘Riders on the Storm’ by The Doors, Saint Agnes have forged a granite foundation of psychedelic blues rock, which has instant crossover appeal between classic rock aficionados and contemporary heavy rock lovers alike.
Whether Saint Agnes are saints or sinners is for you to decide, but like Jimmy Page, they are definitely more interested in the dark arts of English occultist Aleister Crowley than trad-Goth band ‘The Witching Hour’ who formed in London in 1991. For me, Saint Agnes’s embodiment of this paranormal activity is more in line with the goings-on and images in Andy Shauf’s ‘Wendell Walker’. The haunting song from 2015’s The Bearer of Bad News summarises how ‘we found our moments in between the hours’; semantically it’s a similar sentiment to frontwoman Kitty Arabella Austen’s assertion that she would ‘like to meet you in the witching hour’. She means every word. If this does occur, make sure you bring a torch, some garlic and some 180 gram vinyl - some of you would will be familiar with the Shaun Of The Dead scene in the garden where they have to use their record collection to defend themselves when all hope is lost. If you meet any member of Saint Agnes when the moon is full, then it is necessity to bring copies of PJ Harvey’s 1992 album Dry, The Kills Ash & Ice and The Dead Weather’s Horehound to heighten your chances of survival.
You might escape with your soul intact then then and live to tell the tale. You’ll have to buy the band a few Dos Equis at ‘Die de Meurtos’ this October though, or pay homage to a few members of the Lost Souls Club who frequent the Spainaird Inn in North West London, an English public house which is mentioned in Bram Stoker’s Dracula…just to make sure you see through the year.
There’s a few Day of the Dead characters who are still in purgatory from the opening sequence of ‘Spectre’ and have somehow found their way into guitarist Jon James’ and Kitty’s car. These film references are deliberate, as the band have emulsified a hard rock and cinematic sound effortlessly since 2014, when I first heard a ‘Beautiful Day For Murder’. I’m not sure how many sins or how much debauchery has been committed since then, but make sure you catch them on the road this summer. Alternatively, if you are driving back home late at night, you might find 4 shadows laying down a guitar or two on the crossroads. If you are going to roll the dice with the devil, just make sure you roll a six.